A/N: Hey, everyone! This is a new story that I've recently come up with and I am pretty excited about it. I've never heard of a story where Harry is raised by Bellatrix, but Voldemort doesn't know that he's Harry Potter, so hopefully this one will be a hit! So, please read and review! I'd love to know what you think!
Oh and the Potters and Lestranges in this one, as in James and Rodolphus, are distant cousins.
I'm Canadian so I try to use all the British ways to say things – like jumper instead of sweater, but if I mess up, let me know
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and everything recognisable belongs to the wonderful JK Rowling.
Chapter One – Bellatrix
There was not a sound in the whole cemetery, save for a few far off sounds of grieving. It was nearing dusk, the yellow orb sinking closer and closer to the horizon. It was late October and so the temperatures were chilly as evening drew closer.
There were only a few people left in the cemetery. A young witch was wailing about how life wasn't fair as an older gentleman comforted her, a motherly looking woman was sobbing softly as she laid flowers on a tomb of a long dead wizard and a group of teenage boys were standing, clustered around a grave of a fallen friend.
These people Bellatrix recognized. The young witch's brother had just been killed by Death Eaters in a raid Bellatrix had taken part in. The motherly looking woman had been the mother of one of Bellatrix's school mates; the boy had gotten mauled by a Hippogriff and killed. The teenage boys were students at Hogwarts, as per their Ravenclaw uniforms. She didn't know who they were mourning, but at that moment it didn't matter to her.
She was standing in front of a fresh grave, wearing her new black silk cloak with the hood pulled over her head to hide her identity. The grave didn't have a tombstone yet, as the funeral had just taken place that morning but Bellatrix knew who's it was. It was the grave of Rodolphus Lestrange, her husband. He'd been killed just a few days ago by some Aurors.
She wasn't crying; she hadn't loved Rodolphus, but he had been a dear friend. But it wasn't like Bellatrix hadn't lost friends before. This time, she was mourning because of her son. He would grow up without a father all because of a few stupid Light warriors.
Her son, Henry, had just celebrated his first birthday on June the 22nd. He knew something was different; the child was bright. The day after Rodolphus had died, Henry had been crying heavily. Even when Bellatrix held him, he still wailed, wanting his father. Right now, he was sleeping in her arms as she looked at the grave of Rodolphus.
Narcissa Malfoy, her younger sister, had been standing about two metres behind Bellatrix and Henry with her husband Lucius and baby son Draco.
Narcissa had come closer and now murmured to Bellatrix, "Bella, let me take Henry home now. Lucius and I can handle him and Draco for as long as you need us to. He needs some proper rest; he looks ill."
Bellatrix's grip tightened on her baby. "No, Cissy. Henry will be fine with me." She turned her black eyes onto her sister. "Do you not trust me to take care of my own child?"
Narcissa shook her head. "Of course I trust you, Bella. I only thought -"
"You thought wrong, Narcissa," said Bellatrix, her voice as soft and silky as a panther. "Henry and I shall be fine. You and Lucius can go now – I just need a few moments longer."
Narcissa bowed her head in agreement and kissed Bellatrix on the cheek. "Come to our house," she pleaded. "We have more than enough room and I hate to think of you all alone in that huge Manor of yours now that –" She stopped talking.
"Now that Rodolphus is dead? I am perfectly able to take care of myself, Narcissa," she snapped.
"I know that, Bella. I just –"
"Go, Narcissa. Henry and I shall return to Lestrange Manor."
Narcissa sighed. "All right, then." She kissed her sister's cheek once more and turned away. She walked back to where Lucius Malfoy stood, holding their baby son Draco. "Let's go home, Lucius," said Narcissa softly.
After they were gone, Bellatrix sighed and turned away from the grave, tears still glittering in her eyes. She looked down at her sleeping baby. He wasn't sleeping peacefully. He was turning a lot and looked like he was about to wake up. Only a few moments later, his black eyes opened and he started to cry.
"Hush, Henry," soothed Bellatrix. "It's all right, I'm here. Go back to sleep. We'll be home soon. Soon we'll be home."
But Henry didn't stop crying. He wailed and wailed.
Finally, Bellatrix took out her wand. "Silencio," she murmured. Instantly the child's cries were silenced. He looked up at Bellatrix with tears still running down his little face.
"Much better," she said, satisfied. "Let's go home, Henry." She walked to the edge of the cemetery in order to Apparate away. "Tomorrow I'll take you to see Auntie Cissy and Uncle Lucius, okay my darling? You can play with Draco while I attend to something. To what, perhaps you are wondering, dear child? Mummy has a death to avenge."
It was a quiet afternoon in Godric's Hollow and a redheaded woman, named Lily Potter, was sitting at the kitchen table, absently drinking tea. There was a newspaper, with a photo of the village of Hogsmeade on the cover. Hovering over the town was a green skull with a huge snake slithering out of its mouth. There was a huge crowd, surrounding the town square. The headline read, 'THREE BODIES DUMPED IN HOGSMEADE TOWN SQUARE!'
Lily sighed. More deaths; it was becoming almost a daily event. Lily unfolded the paper and began to read.
THREE BODIES DUMPED IN HOGSMEADE TOWN SQUARE.
By Gretel Hurtz
The residents of the village of Hogsmeade woke up this morning to the sight of the Dark Mark hovering over the village. Instant pandemonium ensued. Aurors and Mediwizards arrived on scene immediately. Three bodies had been dumped carelessly in the town square.
The bodies are of three Aurors, Joel McLaggen, Melissa Bell and Warwick Moore, were discovered this morning by Ruby Corner, a resident of Hogsmeade.
"I was out walking my dog Snuffles," said Corner, "When he started pulling me towards this alley. When I found the bodies, I screamed and immediately alerted the Aurors."
Mediwizards had confirmed that each victim was killed with the Killing Curse, as recently as last night. The bodies have been moved to St Mungo's, where they will be kept until the families can arrange funerals.
Lily stopped reading as someone called her name. "Lily!" shouted James, Lily's husband, bursting into the kitchen. "Did you hear the news?"
Lily sighed and put her teacup down. She nodded wearily. "The three deaths in Hogsmeade? Yes, I heard."
The black haired man, with hazel eyes hidden behind glasses, flopped down at the kitchen table. "I'm so sick of this," he said. "Sick of Death Eaters chasing us all the time, wanting us to join Voldemort; sick of all the deaths; sick of not being able to run around with Padfoot, Moony and Wormtail –"
Lily put her hand on James's arm. "I know, James," she said softly.
James looked up and smiled weakly at Lily. Then he sat up straight, running a hand through his hair before standing up.
"Where are you going?" asked Lily.
"To get Harry. Is he still napping?"
"Yes, James. Don't wake him up!" But James had already left to get their son. He returned a few minutes later, holding a little boy. Harry had tousled black hair and startling green eyes. He looked like James, but with Lily's eyes. He also looked disoriented and half asleep.
"Lily," said James, wrinkling his nose. "He smells."
"So change him," said Lily simply.
"Can you do it?"
Lily didn't answer, but just drank from her tea again.
"Fine," said James darkly. He stalked out of the kitchen and returned a few minutes later. Harry was wearing a fresh nappy and looked happy. He was chewing on a toy Hippogriff.
"Take that awful thing out of Harry's mouth, James!" said Lily, standing up to take Harry away from James. She took the toy out of Harry's mouth and placed it in his hands. "Don't put this is your mouth, Harry," she said, scolding him lightly. Harry just blinked at her and then stuck the toy in his mouth again.
"Oh, calm down, Lily. Getting germs from that toy are the least of our worries."
Lily just looked at James.
"Okay, sorry. Harry, take that out of your mouth."
Harry ignored him.
James sighed. "Aw, well I tried."
Lily rolled her eyes. She got a bottle out for Harry and magicked the milk warm. She sat down next to James at the table. "Are Remus, Peter and Sirius coming over later?"
"Yeah, Sirius said he'd be here in a matter of minutes," said James. "He just stuck his head through my fireplace before I came down with Harry," he explained at Lily's look.
Lily rolled her eyes. "Sirius is so –"
"Hello everyone!" said a voice from the doorway. Lily and James both jumped up and grabbed their wands, but relaxed as they saw that it was Sirius Black, James's best friend.
"Speak of the devil," muttered James, rolling his eyes, sitting back down at the kitchen table. "And the devil shall appear."
"No fair, Prongs," complained Sirius, grinning broadly. He had long black hair, black eyes that had a mischievous glint to them, and was devilishly handsome. "I'm not the devil." He walked over to Lily and plucked Harry from her arms.
"Hey, you," said Sirius. Harry hiccupped and spit up all over Sirius. "Oh, brilliant job, Harry," he muttered, whipping out his wand and cleaning up his robes.
James and Lily laughed, but turned serious at once; it was hard to laugh in the times of war. "Why do you think those Aurors were killed?"
Sirius sighed. "They killed a Death Eater a few days ago. Remember that raid on Diagon Alley? They killed Rodolphus Lestrange. My guess is that my dear cousin Bellatrix got her revenge."
Lily shook her head, disgusted. "I can't believe that you're related to that monster, Sirius."
"Neither can I," admitted Sirius. "Did you guys know that she has a –"
There was a loud sound from outside and a yelped curse. "Wormtail," James and Sirius said together.
Peter, a short man with watery eyes, burst into the room. "Hey, everyone," he greeted, flopping down at the table. "Sorry about your rubbish bin, Prongs," he added, while Sirius started to roar with laughter.
James waved that away. "No worries, Wormtail. Did you trip over the cat again?"
Peter nodded darkly. "It always gets in the way."
Sirius stopped laughing. "I know. I hate cats, you know that, James? Why did you get one?"
"We thought it'd keep you and Wormtail away," said Lily, laughing. "You know, dogs don't like cats and cats chase rats – but sadly that didn't work," she said, gesturing to the two men, sitting at her table. "Here you both are."
Sirius pretended to look offended. "I'm hurt, Lily," he said. He looked to James. "Prongs, tell your wife that she's being mean."
James laughed. "Sorry, Padfoot, but if I tried that, I'd be kicked out. Lily's the boss."
Sirius muttered something that sounded like 'wimp' and crossed his arms across his chest.
Lily picked up the Daily Prophet on the table and hit Sirius over the head with it.
"That's what you get for insulting my wife, Padfoot," said James, grinning.
"I didn't insult her," said Sirius, rubbing his head. "I insulted you." He muttered some bad words under his breath and got another whack on the head.
"Sirius! You are not to talk like that in my house! What kind of example are you being for Harry?" Lily demanded.
Sirius just rolled his eyes. "He's too little to even notice what we're saying," said Sirius.
"He is almost a year!" said James indignantly. "That's a big boy."
Sirius and Peter exchanged a look. "You have no idea how pathetic you just sounded there, James," said Peter.
"A year old is not a big boy," added Sirius.
James shot a dark look at his best friends. "Lily, hand me that newspaper."
"Okay, okay!" said Sirius, ducking as James swiped at his head. "Gees, you two are violent today." He snatched the paper from James's hand and said, "I'm keeping this. Here, Wormtail, hold Harry."
Peter took Harry and looked at the baby with his watery eyes. Almost immediately, Harry began to cry. "He doesn't like you," said James, laughingly. He took Harry from Peter and started to bounce him on his knee. Harry giggled, once more the happy little boy.
"Hmm," said Sirius, "That lady in Hogsmeade named her dog Snuffles? Snuffles. Snuffles. Does that suit me better than Padfoot?"
James and Peter both laughed. "From that whole article all you got was what the lady named her dog?"
"I'm not surprised," said Lily.
The door bell rang and everyone jumped to their feet. "I'll go," said Sirius. "It's probably Remus, but just to be safe..."
Everyone waited with baited breath for Sirius to return. When he did, he was laughing and joking with Remus Lupin. James and Lily exchanged thankful looks and Peter sighed in relief.
"Hello," said Remus, after stopping his laughter with Sirius. "How are you all?" He looked shabby and tired; it was only a week after the full moon and it always took him ten days to fully recover.
"Good," said James. "How about you, Moony? Getting ready for the next cycle?"
Remus nodded. "Unfortunately."
James sighed wistfully. "I wish I could go out running with you guys."
Lily suddenly stood. "Do you all want tea?"
"Yes, please," they all said.
"James, make your friends some tea," said Lily. "I just have to go get something." Lily left the kitchen, leaving behind James looking furious about having to make tea.
"You guys want tea, you go make it yourself," said James. "I'm not your servant," he told Sirius who looked extremely put out.
Lily returned with a camera in her hand. "James, bring Harry here for a moment. Sirius, can you take a picture of us three?"
"Why do you want a picture all of a sudden, Lily?" asked James, standing up and walking over to her, carrying Harry.
"I don't know," Lily admitted. "I just feel like somehow none of us will all be together again for a long time." She shivered and rubbed her arms.
There was a silence as Lily's words sunk in, but then Sirius said, "Way to ruin the mood, Lils."
"Oh, just take the picture," she snapped.
"All right, all right, don't get your knickers in a knot," said Sirius. He aimed the camera at them. "Say 'Snape stinks'."
"Oh, fine. Say 'Snuffles'."
"You are so ridiculous," said James, laughing.
"One, two, three!" said Sirius, ignoring James.
Lily and James smiled brightly, holding little Harry between them. Harry had a knack for smiling whenever he saw a camera pointed at him.
Sirius took the picture, and shook his head. "You didn't say Snuffles."
Lily ignored that comment. "Thanks, Padfoot," said Lily. "Peter, would you mind developing this for us? I can't go to Diagon Alley and get any supplies or anything ..."
"Uh, oh yes, I will," said Peter, taking the camera from Lily. He looked at it as if he'd never seen a camera before.
Come to think of it, thought Lily, Peter had been very distracted lately, but she didn't know why.
Remus turned to Sirius. "What was that with the whole Snuffles thing?"
"Oh, I was reading in the Prophet about some lady whose dog is named Snuffles. I was thinking if I ever got tired of Padfoot, we could call me Snuffles instead."
James and Peter exchanged glances. "I'm not calling you Snuffles, mate," said James.
Sirius sniffed and pretended to look offended. "Harry will call me Snuffles, won't you, Harry?"
Harry just looked at Sirius and giggled. He reached out a hand and yanked hard on Sirius's hair.
"Ouch! James, your son just assaulted me."
"Good boy, Harry," said James, not even looking at Sirius.
Remus had been reading the Prophet article. He put it down and shook his head sadly. "I'm not surprised that's all you got out of it, Sirius," said Remus.
"My thoughts exactly," said Lily.
There was a loud pop and suddenly Bellatrix appeared on a street corner. The street was deserted, totally empty.
That wasn't uncommon. After all, Bellatrix had just Apparated outside Riddle Manor, the home of Lord Voldemort.
He'd summoned her and so she'd instantly dropped Henry, who had a bad cold, off at Narcissa's and hurried to Riddle Manor.
There were three Death Eaters standing outside the huge, iron gate. In addition to the wards Voldemort himself had placed around the house, there were always three Death Eaters standing guard.
This house was under the Fidelius Charm and Voldemort was the Secret Keeper, ensuring that no one knew the place of it except his most trusted followers.
As Bellatrix strode up to the three Death Eaters, she pulled up the black silk sleeve covering her left arm and quickly flashed the Dark Mark at them.
They all recognised Bellatrix and immediately hurried to open the gate for her.
Bellatrix didn't even acknowledge them as she strode up the pathway to the huge Manor. Riddle Manor was at least four storeys high and wasn't just called Riddle because that was Voldemort's family name. It was the Riddle Manor because it was a huge puzzle.
Voldemort's chambers were in the basement, his private study, bedroom and bathroom adjoining the meeting room where all the Inner Circle Death Eaters gathered with him to discuss, plan and report.
Bellatrix hurried through the house, anxious to see the Dark Lord. He had been so kind, so gracious to her after Rodolphus had died – he'd allowed Bellatrix to kill the Aurors who murdered him herself!
Voldemort's meeting room was private and reserved for him and his most trusted Death Eaters. To access it, you had to cross Voldemort's receiving chamber – where the Death Eaters would report the outcomes of raids and the like. There was only one chair in the room, tall backed, black marble chair that was reserved for him and only him. It was seated on a black dais where Nagini, Voldemort's snake, was snoozing.
Nagini didn't scare Bellatrix, but she knew that the snake was deadly and frightened many of the weaker Death Eaters.
Bellatrix crossed the room and opened an almost invisible door – if you didn't know it was there, you would totally miss it. . She was about to place her hand on the opening stone, but she heard voices from within. It sounded as if the Dark Lord was arguing with someone.
"Please, my Lord! You can kill the child, kill her husband, but please spare Lily! I've been a faithful follower of you for so long and I haven't asked for anything before –"
"Lord Voldemort is well aware of that, Snape," said Voldemort's icy voice.
"I'm sorry, my Lord. Please, excuse my – my begging, my Lord, I just –"
"Silence, please Snape. Now, you are correct and as Lord Voldemort is a generous man, I will grant you your wish. It is true, you did tell me the prophecy and as such I can rid myself of the one who is said to destroy me. This can be your reward. You ask me kill Harry Potter and the boy's father, but not his mother, Lily Potter, is that correct?"
"Yes, my lord," said the voice, sounding a little relieved.
Voldemort laughed. "You are truly horrible, Severus. Killing a woman's child and husband just so you can have her."
"Do not deny it, Severus, you are easy to read. Very well, I shall not kill Lily Potter unless she stands in my way of murdering the boy."
"Oh, thank you, my Lord –"
"I do have to warn you, Severus, that if the girl gets in my way of killing the child, she also shall die."
"I – I understand, my Lord."
"Very well. Now Bellatrix? You may enter."
Bellatrix jumped. She hadn't realized Voldemort knew she was here, but then again he knew everything.
She placed her hand on the seventh stone from the wall, seven stones up from the floor and the door slithered and hissed as it opened for her.
"Ah, Bella," said Voldemort, as Bellatrix entered the room. He was seated in another tall backed, black marble chair and there were papers strewn out before him on the table. He was holding one up, reading it with a smile on his face.
Voldemort wasn't alone, though. The other voice that Bellatrix had heard was Severus Snape. He was sitting a few seats down from the Dark Lord, looking nauseous and pale.
Bellatrix ignored Snape completely, as she did to almost everyone when Voldemort was present. "My Lord," said Bellatrix demurely, bowing low before him. "You wished to see me?"
"Yes." He motioned for Bellatrix to take a seat at the table. "I was just reading the Daily Prophet," he said, absently, as Bellatrix took a seat opposite Severus. "Very nice work with those Aurors, by the way," he commented, putting the paper he had down on the table.
"Thank you, my Lord," said Bellatrix proudly.
Voldemort sighed. "Now, to business. Severus and I were discussing the way to get to Harry Potter, the boy I believe that is the one in the prophecy, as you most likely heard from listening at the door."
"Don't be worried, dear Bella. I am not upset with you," said Voldemort. He reached for another piece of paper and looked at it, with a frown.
"Thank you, my Lord," murmured Bellatrix.
"What unsettles me is that the prophecy could also mean this boy – Neville Longbottom." He slid the paper across to Bellatrix. It was a photograph, showing a man and a woman, holding a young boy. They were standing outside an old house, waving to the camera. "You see my dilemma. What if I kill the one child and it turns out to be the other? Or I kill the other instead and it turns out to be the original one? That would not be good. So I have decided to kill both children – it will save me a great deal of time."
"Yes, my Lord, what a brilliant idea –" began Bellatrix.
Voldemort held up a hand for silence and immediately Bellatrix fell silent. "The only problem I can see with that plan is that once one child is dead, that fool Dumbledore will secure the other one so tightly that I will not be able to touch him. So, the two must be killed on the same night, but even I cannot be in the same place at once." His red eyes flickered to Bellatrix. "That's where you come in, Bella. You will kill one of the boys for me."
Bellatrix could barely contain herself from standing up and doing a little jig. To be given this honour! "Of – of course, my lord!" she said. "I would be honoured to do this for you."
Voldemort nodded, as if he already knew this. He waved his hand and the photo Bellatrix was holding flew out of her hand and into his. "How about little Neville, the pureblood?" asked Voldemort, making the photo spin in the air with magic. "Or young Harry, the half-blood?" Another photo rose, one of another family. The father was holding the child and making him wave to the camera, while the mother had wrapped her arm around her husband's waist. They were standing in front of a kitchen counter.
Bellatrix opened her mouth, but Snape interrupted her. "My lord," said Snape, looking confused and horrified. "What do you mean?"
"I mean exactly what I say, Snape," snapped Voldemort. "Do not question Lord Voldemort."
"You said you'd be the one to kill Harry! You promised that you would keep Lily alive!" shouted Snape, standing up going for his wand.
Bellatrix also jumped up, ready to defend Voldemort, but Voldemort had already said, almost lazily, "Crucio!"
Snape fell to the floor, hitting his head on the table and screaming in pain. Voldemort held the curse for only 30 seconds before lifting it.
Snape got to his feet, shaking. He looked paler and swallower than ever.
"You will obey your Lord, Snape," said Voldemort. He had stood up and was standing at his full, menacing height. "What Lord Voldemort says, you will follow, without a question or a doubt in your mind. Is that understood?"
Snape stuttered out a quick agreement.
Voldemort said, continuing his rampage, "I said that Lily Potter would be kept alive if I were the one to kill her son. You did not ask for Bellatrix to spare her life, if she were the one going after Harry."
"My Lord?" asked Bellatrix. "Does that mean you want to me to kill the Potter child?"
Voldemort didn't look at Bellatrix, just at Snape's reaction. He looked terrified; terrified for the life of the woman he loved. "Yes, Bellatrix. You will kill Harry Potter and I will kill Neville Longbottom."
"No!" shouted Snape, leaping at Voldemort. Bellatrix shrieked out in alarm, but Voldemort moved out of the way easily. Snape hit the marble chair with a thud that echoed throughout the whole chamber.
"Crucio!" said Voldemort, pointing his wand at Snape. This time he held the charm for a full minute.
"What did I tell you, Severus?" whispered Voldemort softly, after he'd released Snape from the curse. "You are to obey my commands. Now, I will ask you again – do you understand what your Lord is saying?"
"Y-yes, my L-Lord," stuttered Snape.
"Good," said Voldemort, over the rest of Snape's muttered apologies. "So you won't interrupt us again – Silencio!"
Snape's voice was instantly silent.
"Much better," said Voldemort, satisfied. He walked back to the marble chair and sat back down. He flicked the photo of the Potters at Bellatrix. "Keep the picture, Bella. Now, as Bellatrix is the one who is going to kill Harry Potter, perhaps Bellatrix would be kind to your request for sparing Lily Potter?"
Bellatrix looked at the Dark Lord. "I will do whatever you wish of me, my Lord," she said. But in her mind she was thinking, Why on earth would I spare a filthy Mudblood?
Apparently, Bellatrix wasn't thinking straight because she forgot that Voldemort can read minds.
"You are correct, Bella," said Voldemort. "Why should she save Lily Potter, Snape? Do you honestly think that she'll forgive you for letting Lord Voldemort murder her son and husband? Do you think that she could possibly love you?" The contempt in Voldemort's voice was impossible to miss.
Snape just looked at Voldemort, a barely disguised expression of hate on his face.
Voldemort laughed softly and flicked his hand at Snape. Snape was blown backwards into the wall and he crumbled into a heap onto the floor. "Now listen to your Lord, Severus," said Voldemort, walking over to where Snape was laying. "Bellatrix will spare your beloved Lily."
Bellatrix looked sharply at Voldemort; she couldn't believe her ears.
"Don't look at me so, Bella. Lily Potter is a powerful witch – it is hard to believe that she is a Mudblood. She would be useful to us if she was Imperiused. Perhaps we could Imperiuse her to love you too, Snape," said Voldemort, chuckling softly.
Bellatrix snorted with laughter.
"But, Bellatrix," added Voldemort, "do not kill the child's father either. It will be much more entertaining for us to have dear Lily still have her husband, won't it now Snape?"
Snape looked furious, but he could not speak.
"Yes, yes, Severus, I know your opinion on that matter. We will arrange that there will be an 'urgent Order meeting' the night Bellatrix and I will kill the two boys. The Longbottoms and Potters would not miss such an important meeting, I am sure."
Voldemort paused for a moment, summoning a glass of water. He sipped it lazily and then continued. "We'll arrange for our little spy in the Potter's confidence to be home when Bellatrix arrives to murder the child. He will tell the Potters that he'll babysit Harry, not to worry, everything is under control. Then, Bellatrix will arrive, kill Harry and leave. And then," said Voldemort slowly, a truly evil smile creeping up onto his face, "the Potters will arrive and find their dear Harry, the Chosen One, dead."
"What of Pettigrew, my lord?" asked Bellatrix. "I leave him alive?"
"Yes, Bella," said Voldemort. "He is a Death Eater – you shall not kill him unless I command it." Voldemort sighed loudly and put the glass of water down on the table. "Up now, Snape," he said, waving his hand. Snape was brutally forced to his feet by the magic and his voice was returned. "You may leave, Snape," said Voldemort.
Snape hurriedly bowed low and half ran out the door.
As the door was creaking to a close, a long snake slithered in. Nagini didn't pause as she slithered towards Voldemort. She wrapped herself around the long marble chair and rested her head on Voldemort's shoulder. He stroked her absently with a long white hand. "I do not trust Snape to keep the date of our attack secret – we shall attack the boys on Hallowe'en."
"Hallowe'en, my lord? But – that is in two days!"
"Yes, Bellatrix, I am aware of that," he said lazily. "You may leave, Bellatrix."
"Yes, my lord," said Bellatrix, rising from the table. She wondered vaguely if Henry was feeling any better than when she'd dropped him off at Narcissa's.
She was almost at the door, when Voldemort called out. "Bellatrix, on the night where we will kill the two boys, there can be no reason why you do not show up or do the deed, is that understood?"
"Of course, my lord," said Bellatrix, surprised. She would never miss this opportunity, this chance to show the Dark Lord how much she was honoured to be in his service.
"Good," said Voldemort. "Return tomorrow, Bellatrix. I will have our spy tell you the name of where the Potters are hidden – he is their Secret Keeper."
"Yes, my Lord," said Bellatrix. She bowed once and then left the room.
The door swung closed behind her, leaving Bellatrix one last glimpse of the Dark Lord. She exited the Manor, striding past the three guard Death Eaters so quickly that they jumped in alarm.
She Disapparated as soon as she could, landing just outside the Malfoy Manor with a small pop.
Bellatrix entered the house. It was a beautiful home, even Bellatrix couldn't deny that. "Narcissa?" she called. "Cissy, where are you?"
Narcissa appeared at the top of the stairs, holding Draco in her arms. "Oh, Bellatrix, thank goodness you're here!"
"Why? What has happened? Where is Henry?"
Narcissa looked terrified at the expression on Bellatrix's face. "Henry is sleeping in Draco's room. He is much, much sicker than he was when you dropped him off."
"Did you give him a Pepper-Up Potion?" asked Bellatrix, ascending to the stairs. She reached the landing and stared at her sister, hands on her hips.
"I did," said Narcissa, juggling Draco to her other hip. "But it did no good."
Bellatrix looked down the hallway to Draco's room. The door was slightly open. "I'll take him home," she announced, heading for Draco's room. "Then he'll feel better."
She opened the door and hurried to the crib. Henry was sleeping, his hair plastered to his little forehead. He looked very, very sick.
Bellatrix leaned over the crib and picked him up gently. "Oh, Henry," she murmured. "Why are you sick?"
"Bella, don't you think you should take him to St. Mungo's?" asked Narcissa. As soon as she said that, it was obvious from her expression at how stupid that would be. One of Voldemort's most feared and most wanted Death Eaters, strolling into St Mungo's and demanding that the Healers there heal her son. Yeah, right.
"Or at least to a Healer?" persisted Narcissa. "The Dark Lord has many that he'd allow you to use –"
"No, no," said Bellatrix distractedly. "The Dark Lord is busy. Besides, when Henry is at home, he will be better."
Narcissa looked as if she thought Bellatrix was mad, which in fact she was. Bellatrix had never quite been sane, but since joining the Dark Lord and murdering so many, she'd gone round the bend. Losing Rodolphus had also rendered her quite mad; even though she hadn't loved him, they were friends and Rodolphus was the only one to calm Bellatrix down – something even Voldemort had to use a spell for.
Bellatrix was cradling Henry close to her chest as she brushed past Narcissa and out of the door. She had hurried down the stairs and was almost at the door when Narcissa called out.
"Bellatrix, wait!" called Narcissa. She'd set Draco down and ran after her sister. "Please! You must take Henry to a Healer. He is sick – I've never even seen this type of illness before!"
But Bellatrix was already too far gone, sinking into her deranged belief that taking Henry home would cure him.
"Goodbye, Cissy," said Bellatrix absently. "Tell Draco that I said hello."
When Bellatrix and Henry arrived at Lestrange Manor, she hurried him up to his room, telling the house elves that she would murder them if they disturbed her, through the halls drenched with the setting sun's light. Henry's nursery was at the end of the hall. She put him down in his ebony crib and drew her wand. She didn't know what to do – she wasn't good at healing spells.
Henry coughed once, spitting up a bit of blood.
Bellatrix panicked. She dropped her wand and picked up her son. She cradled him to her chest, whispering the most comforting words she could.
Henry didn't even respond. He just coughed once more, staining Bellatrix's best green robes. She didn't care, not at all.
Bellatrix backed up into the nursery wall and sunk down until she was sitting on the floor. She held Henry as he coughed up blood, slept fitfully and cried.
Bellatrix could feel her heart sinking into a pit of hopelessness and despair as she listened to the dying sounds of her son. She'd just lost Rodolphus – she couldn't lose Henry as well.
It was almost midnight when Henry fell silent. Bellatrix moved him slightly and he moaned a little. She turned him so that she could see into his eyes. They had fluttered shut a long time ago, but she had to see his beautiful black eyes just once more.
"Henry," she whispered, caressing his forehead. "Open your eyes, Henry," she whispered.
Henry was bright and clearly understood that Bellatrix wanted something from him, and he opened his eyes.
His eyes were beautiful, just like Bellatrix's. They were like staring into the depths of the ocean, where it is no longer blue – just black. The sparkle that they usually held was almost gone.
"Don't ... don't die on me," said Bellatrix. For the first time in a long time, she could feel tears starting to well.
That was one command that Henry couldn't obey. His eyes fluttered close again and his little chest stopped moving up and down.
Bellatrix's eyes widened. "No, no, no, no, no," she said, starting to shake Henry. "No, Henry! Wake up!"
When he did not, Bellatrix put him down and started to sob. She hadn't cried in years – not since her parents told her she was to marry Rodolphus.
What would she do? Her husband was dead, her child was dead. Bellatrix still had the Dark Lord and for that she was thankful, but... Bellatrix choked back a sob and wiped her eyes on her sleeve.
Bellatrix stood, and retrieved her wand from the floor. She put Henry back into his crib and started to leave the nursery, but hesitated. She drew her wand and muttered a quick spell that would preserve the body of Henry for three days. She then left the nursery.
She went into the kitchen and called out to the house elves that she wanted breakfast. The Lestranges had four house-elves, but their names always escaped Bellatrix.
"Yes, mistress," they said. They scrambled over each other to prepare a dish of food for Bellatrix. She sat at the kitchen table, something she never did as she always ate in the dining room.
They gave her a plate of food and a glass of pumpkin juice, always jittering and nervous around her.
One of them, a male, who was the boldest of them all, said, "What of Master Henry, mistress?"
"Oh," said Bellatrix. "Yes, prepare something for him. He is ill and will not eat much."
"Yes, mistress," they murmured and hurried off to get Henry something that he would never eat.
One of them started to exit the kitchen with the food, but Bellatrix jumped up. "Did I tell you that you could bring Henry his food? No!" The house-elf squeaked in alarm and almost dropped the plate. "Set it down here, I shall bring it up myself," ordered Bellatrix.
"Yes, mistress," the house-elf blubbered, quickly setting the plate down and wringing her hands.
"Get back to work," she snapped. Immediately, the house-elves scurried away, casting terrified glances behind them as they went.
When Bellatrix finished her breakfast, she picked up the Henry's plate and stood. She carried it up to the nursery and stopped in the doorway. The house-elf who had wanted to bring Henry his food was humming to herself as she cleaned up the room.
Bellatrix dropped the plate of food. It shattered on the ground. The house-elf jumped in alarm and turned around.
"Mistress, is everything all right?"
Bellatrix didn't answer, just drew her wand. She flicked it behind her and the door slammed shut.
"Did I give you permission to enter this room, elf?" demanded Bellatrix, her voice soft and deadly. Her black eyes quickly scanned the room and saw that the house-elf hadn't reached Henry's crib to start changing the sheets yet. She didn't know that Henry was ... but still – the house-elf would be punished for disobeying Bellatrix. "Did I?"
"I was just cleaning up, Miss Bellatrix. It's part of my job –"
"Answer the question," Bellatrix hissed. "Did I give you permission to enter this room today?"
"N-no, Miss Bella –"
"THEN WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?" shrieked Bellatrix. "YOU HAVE DISOBEYED ME, ELF!"
"No!" shouted the house-elf. "No, mistress, I haven't! I was just cleaning –"
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" screamed Bellatrix, aiming her wand at the house-elf.
A flash of green light filled the room and the house-elf's scream was cut off short. She fell to the ground, unmoving.
Bellatrix was shaking, she was so angry. She went over to house-elf's body and picked her up. She strode to the door and dropped the body outside. The other three elves had gathered and were huddling together, their large eyes wide with fright.
"Dispose of it," Bellatrix hissed. Then she slammed the door shut.
Alone in the room, Bellatrix sunk down to the floor. She crawled to the crib and peered through the bars at the unmoving form of her son. "It's all right, Henry, it's all right," she whispered. "Mummy's here – I'll protect you."
A/N: Yay! First chapter done! This one was nice and long and I don't know if I'll be able to keep all of them this long (this was 23 pages on Word), but I'll try not to do super short ones.
So ... how about a review? Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top?