One Single Spell of Revenge.
A/N: This is just a one shot of an AU reality where Bellatrix Lestrange survived the war, but was captured. Also a story where Neville gets his payback for what she did to his parents. A few others get their personal revenge against the witch. Features a slightly dark!Neville. May be a tad OOC. Dark themes warning here.
My first dive into Harry Potter fanfiction. Be gentle. Haha.
GluttonousAnorexiaNervosa deserves a good round of applause for taking time out of her busy schedule to beta this. *Rowdy applause with wolf whistles*. Thanks for that!
Disclaimer: I wish I owed Harry Potter, but alas, J.K. Rowling guards that piece of literary genius, with—I assume—a huge, very expensive, team of lawyers.
The tall, broad shouldered man paced the hallway of the Ministry nervously, constantly twitching and fiddling with his wand, rubbing his thumb reassuringly over the cherry-wood handle, pushing at a bit of unicorn hair that was poking out with his index finger. Neville Longbottom was known as the strong, matured man of nineteen long, hard years—but this one-day put him on edge, taking him back a few years, seemingly reverting him to the nervous, unsure boy who entered the halls of Hogwarts at eleven.
However, his dark eyes were just a measure of how much he'd truly grown—how much he'd suffered through. From the womb, his life was plagued with the presence of a great evil. Not only did his parents fight the evil warlock to ensure that Neville's childhood would be safe, when everybody thought the threat to the wizarding world was gone they'd lost their sanities…but no, it didn't end there. Lord Voldemort infected his life, at first through his parents, then through his friend, Harry Potter, and soon with direct hits to the school he grew to love.
Then You-Know-Who hit at more of his companions. More people Neville knew fell due to the touch of Voldemort. You-Know-Who took his parents away from him, took over his school, and terrified and tortured his friends.
Yet, who Neville truly loathed was Bellatrix Lestrange; the woman who's fate rested in his hands. Her name, even as a thought that drifted through his mind, left a bitter taste in his mouth.
She was captured directly after the Great Battle of Hogwarts, taken into custody by the Ministry of Magic. He loathed her because she so blindly followed her master, driving others to insanity to find him. Countless lives were forever marred by her touch. And Neville couldn't believe his great luck to be the one to sentence her. It was a secret dream he told to no one. The desire of revenge.
There were no words to describe his utter disappointment and sheer heartbreak every time he visited his parents at St. Mungo's Hospital. Every time he went, he always subconsciously built up a bubble of hope that they'd one day remember him. He hated that feeling of hope because every time, without fail, the bubble would burst.
Big, wide eyes, blank and an unknowing, would gaze at him without even a hint of curiosity. His grandmother sympathized, but to be blunt, kind words did nothing to make him feel a little better. Sometimes, his mother would give him random trinkets; candy wrappers, broken quills, pieces of cutlery—stuff others would consider junk, or portkey-worthy, but he treasured every single piece, and hid it from prying eyes in a wooden box under his bed.
No child should have to see their parents depleted and ill, forgetting them; in fact not noticing anything as a whole. Neville had years to stew on this fact, only comforted by the idea that his parent's torturer was safely locked up in the hellhole of Azkaban, facing the daily torment of the Dementors.
When she escaped, it was like the thin glass holding his good will shattered. Not many people knew that Neville believed in God. Not a specific god, mind you, but he believed there was something out there. However, he seriously began questioning all his ideals when she escaped, asking himself whether there was any justice in the universe when such an evil woman could get her dream come true; her leader coming back home to reign terror over all.
For a while, Neville was close to going insane, but thankfully, Dumbledore's Army kept him in check when all else failed, the weekly training sessions giving him a sense of purpose, keeping him rooted with friends and training him for what he saw on the horizon. A real chance to avenge his parents. It took longer than he intentionally expected, but finally the day came.
After the Great Battle of Hogwarts, he'd been given medals, a First Order of Merlin, acknowledgment and congratulations for his hard work, for his major part in the war. Unknown to the majority of the wizarding world was that he actually did more than just partly lead the resistance of Hogwarts, uniting Dumbledore's Army, and kill Nagini, the pet snake of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Hermione had taken him aside and told him that if it were not for him, Voldemort never would have fallen. She could not divulge the exact details of what he did, but he believed her. Granger was one of the people he admired more than any other.
A loud bang from an opening door pulled Neville from his thoughts, and he looked up to see a tall wizard with a crisp set of gray robes walk towards him, nodding and indicating that he should follow him into the room. It was time. It was time to give Bellatrix what she so rightly deserved. It was nearly impossible to stop his hands from trembling in anticipation.
There was so much work needed to be done after the initial success at Hogwarts. After a few weeks, things did die down, but still, there were tonnes of work needing to be done. One part of the task force set to help alleviate the chaos that was going on in the Ministry of Magic was a team consisting of a dozen witches and wizards researching cures to obscure curses and poisons set upon the unwilling.
It was discovered early on that this time around, the Death Eaters didn't stick merely to the traditional forbidden curses. They were using much more crafty measures that were less suspicious to get their way. This was a good idea, seeing as most of the people under the Imperius Curse were brought back to normal almost immediately after their captors were captured themselves.
However, there were some who were stuck in the hospital—the potions or spells the Death Eaters forced on them rendering them near immovable, or psychotic in rage. Those who drank potions of control needed weekly doses, or they started to go insane. It took sometimes a team of Healers to strap them down. Those who were placed under spells stayed frozen, forever waiting for commands that would no longer come, not even moving for food, water or rest. If cures weren't found, they quickly went insane or died.
Death Eaters used mainly spells and curses from old books; thick, greasy volumes, bound by age-old leather and left to be forgotten until they had eroded to dust—it was books like that which the team and Hermione Granger so eagerly dived into to find the cures. Hermione didn't have to work, but she still wanted to help. And she was well-acquainted with old books, reading the small faded print while analyzing the information was a habit that was nearly instinctive to her.
She had found five cures in the month she had been studying, but that was more than some who'd been working for longer in the department. More often than not, Hermione and the others would find forgotten—and usually forbidden—spells and potions that would render the most awful side effects to any living thing. Some of the graphics were startling in detail, and make the dark potion book she read in her second year look like a children's picture book in comparison. Horror usually filled Hermione when she discovered these spells, disbelieving that such curses even existed in the world.
However, it was one of these lost spells that Hermione so reluctantly taught Neville. It took time to learn, because the wording of the spell was so specific, not to mention the hand movement, but Neville mastered it faster than she would have thought.
They had practiced on a spider, larger than normal from an Engorgio spell. Although crude, she couldn't think of any other creature she could use, and remembered Professor Moody (well, the impostor) using some in her fourth year, and that had displayed the effects of the curse effectively. She taught him only because he swore he'd only use it once, and on one single person. And she knew who he'd use it on, even though she never asked.
The person who's trial had lined the front pages of the Daily Prophet for a fortnight: Bellatrix Lestrange.
Even thought the agony of this curse went against everything Hermione stood for, she couldn't help but think that Bellatrix of all people deserved it. Not that she'd tell Ron or Harry, in case they worried about her, but she still had daunting nightmares about that night at the Malfoy Manor, waking up screaming and drenched in sweat.
Bellatrix's maniacal laughter followed her into her subconscious when she slept, and brought forth memories that she'd rather suppress. An unhealthy option, but one she stuck by. Living through the experience once would have been enough for anybody, but flashbacks featured greatly in Hermione's life. In a perverse way, she was getting her revenge against Lestrange as well—after all, she discovered the curse and then taught it to Neville.
Yes, the curse she found for Neville was much better than the Cruciatus Curse. Better in the sense that it was more painful, more heartbreaking. Hopefully Lestrange would be the one waking up screaming from now on. Hermione couldn't deny the small, wicked smirk that appeared on her face every time she thought about that.
Harry Potter, with his broom in hand, stood atop a hill, one situated near The Burrow, but far enough away to be alone, at peace. If he concentrated, and looked in the right direction, he could almost see a curling wisp of smoke coming from one of the many chimneys of the Weasley residence.
Clenching his fist tightly, he looked down at his broomstick, another Firebolt, identical in almost every way to the one he lost while running from the Dursleys, but somehow, they were entirely different. Perhaps it was because Harry had no emotional attachment of any kind with this broom, given to him by some nameless, anonymous wizard as a gift of thanks for ridding the world of Voldemort.
His last broom was given to him by his late godfather, Sirius, and with that broom, he'd escaped a dragon in the Triwizard Tournament and won several Quidditch Cups at Hogwarts. So many memories, fond and carefree, were attached to that broom. Harry gazed at the one in his hand, but his heart ached for the one Sirius gave him. Too bad it was lost to him forever.
Of course, when things settled down after Voldemort's demise, Harry did look desperately for his broom, a memento of his favourite godfather, but even with strong summoning spells, he never found it. Eventually, he accepted that it was probably smashed on some muggle road, turned to splinters under the tyres of some heavy cars.
It pissed Harry off, the mere idea he should even need a memento of Sirius in the first place. Sirius Black shouldn't have been killed at all; murdered by the hands of his cousin as he was thrust through the veil, not even leaving behind a body to which Harry could properly mourn. Bellatrix never should have been given life in prison, and if it were not terribly damaging to the fabric of time, Harry would've had half a mind to grab one of the newly made Time-Turners and go back to somehow sentence her to death.
Since he couldn't do that, he did the next best thing. Throwing some considerable weight around in the Ministry, using his name and connections, he ensured that Bellatrix's sentence wouldn't be as easily as her first conviction, nor would she simply experience the bliss of death. Not yet, anyway.
Harry helped Neville to avenge his family by letting him carry out the punishment, and he knew that Hermione was getting closure out of this as well. She didn't tell Harry what she was training Neville to do, but Neville had to tell Harry. When he first heard the details of the curse, Harry felt ill, but then remembered who exactly was on the receiving end of the spell.
Even though Harry knew he had already succeeded in scarring and paining Bellatrix by killing her beloved master directly before her eyes, that wasn't enough, nowhere near enough in his eyes. Through Neville, he got to rip her soul apart just that little bit more, so that she could experience something close to the agony that he faced with Sirius' death.
With that thought, he mounted his broom and took to the skies, knowing that at this very moment, Neville would be facing off with Bellatrix. Justice would be served; even if it didn't technically fit within the boundaries of a legal sentencing.
Neville followed the man through the doors, eager to finish everything, and get closure on the issue. Biting the inside of his cheek, he stood straighter and radiated a more commanding air. Getting in control was necessary because he was dangerously close to losing his nerve.
It was certainly against protocol for the Ministry to allow someone on the outside to perform the punishment, but Harry pulled a few strings for Neville, and there were plenty of people on the Council who wanted to see a follower of Voldemort pay for the obvious reasons.
Most of the witches and wizards didn't know the details of the curse, but they knew it was painful, and that's all they wanted to know in regards to Lestrange's punishment. In fact, some remembered the day when they heard the news that Bellatrix had tortured an Auror and his wife to insanity, and thought it only fitting for the pair's son to avenge them.
Walking a few steps behind the wizard, Neville noticed that their footsteps mixed to make a rather loud and daunting echoing resonance within the din of the hallway, which grew more enclosed as they reached the door. This part of the Ministry was not as well kept as the brightly lit areas nearer to the lifts. Here, it was cold and damp, the stone walls shining and slick with some unknown liquid. A deserving last sight to those who did such incredibly horrendous crimes that they needed to be judged here.
Pausing at the wooden door, which was cracked and aged with time, the wizard nodded his head, inclining that Neville was to proceed alone. Swallowing heavily, Neville pushed the door open and winced slightly at the groaning creaking squeal the door gave, a sure sign that copious amounts of oil would be needed to fix the hinges; or a bit of magic, if someone could be bothered fixing a room where murderers were trialed.
Needing a moment to steel himself, Neville closed his eyes before shoving the door open all the way. For a moment, he was blinded by the bright spotlight highlighting a single chair in which a slumped figure was bound. Eventually his eyes adjusted to the light after being for so long accustomed to the dark, and as he stepped forward, closer to the chair with the unmoving body, he saw details he missed before; the tendrils of thin, greasy hair, dark like oil slick spread across a beach covering most of her neck and face; pale white hands, all skin and bones, gripping tightly at the tops of the armrests, nails yellowed and chipped; wrists bound with shackles of gray metal, molded into a stiff coil uncaring for comfort.
Before he could stop it, a cruel laugh escaped him; so this was how the oh-so sinister Bellatrix Lestrange faired after a few months in the 'intense-therapy' ward of the Azkaban prison! The noise, so loud, seemed to echo in the endless cavern of the pitch black trial room, finally got Bellatrix's attention, her head snapping up to look at who would bring her punishment.
Neville started with a thinly veiled hatred and disgust at the woman chained before him—no, old hag would be a more apt description, for with her hollowed cheeks, her sickly yellow skin tightened over bones, darkened bags under her eyes, pupils dilating erratically, thin lips cracked with lines of dried blood standing out from the pale pallor of pink, framing her set of small, crooked teeth; there was nothing beautiful or youthful he could see in the pitiful creature before him.
Shadows caused by the strange lighting and the odd angles of bone and hair made her look inhuman, nearly unrecognizable as the woman adoring the covers of wizarding newspapers everywhere, her snarling photo all but a shadow of Bellatrix's former glory, highlighting just how sad this person was.
"So, come to avenge your parents? Hmm?" The voice, so dry and cracked, like the leaves in autumn that crunch under your feet, with a strange masculine undercurrent, coming from what appeared to be nowhere, almost made Neville jump, until he realized that the voice was from Bellatrix herself. "Have you come here to laugh and land me the final death blow? Perhaps throwing in a good few hours of the Cruciatus Curse while you're at it?"
Her coal-black eyes stared unfeelingly towards Neville, as if, even now, he was not a threat deserving of her full attention. Neville almost bristled and took the bait, to unleash the Cruciatus Curse upon her and watch her writhe and scream, but held back, remembering that he had in his hands another spell that would fare much better for this criminal.
"Yes and no," announced Neville in a clear voice, strangely perceptive of how alone he and Bellatrix were at that very moment. "I am here to give you your punishment, but not death. You do not deserve the peace of death. Knowing your reputation, all that would achieve would be to send you a one-way ticket into Hell, into the arms of Voldemort." Strangely enough, a hoarse, raspy chuckle escaped Bellatrix, and it almost looked as if she was nodding.
"So if you don't want me to go to Hell, what exactly are your plans with me?" Her voice, though weak, conveyed a tone of strength, as if any torture she faced would be nothing, especially with this boy as the caster of the spells.
"Repentance," said Neville, a strange threatening tone coming into his words. "I'm going to make you feel sorry for absolutely everything bad that you've ever done or witnessed with the ability to prevent it."
"Ha," barked out Bellatrix, her laughter short, but still conveying disbelief. "I'd like to see you try do that."
"Fine. So be it," snapped Neville, pushing the sleeves of his robes back up to his elbows, before beginning to chant the long complex spell in time with strange little twitches and flicks of his wand, occasionally moving it with long graceful sweeps in the air, his voice rising, growing louder and louder, even though there was no other noise to compete with it for attention.
Finally, there was silence.
Bellatrix sat there, eyes wide with a mocking glint brightening them. "Is that all you've got? Some flashy wand work?" cackled Bellatrix with unsuppressed glee. "You shame purebloods everywhere, boy." Even with her air of humor and indifference, her chest heaved as she breathed heavily, a sign that she wasn't as carefree as she tried to show.
Clearing his throat, Neville smiled slowly, a wicked and cruel show of mirth, his teeth glinting slightly in the reflected light of Bellatrix's spotlight. "It takes a while to work, because no one is truly evil as a child. Wait 'til your mind catches up to when you're a bit older."
"What are you talking about? Idiot, speak normally—" Bellatrix's voice cut off suddenly with a choked gurgle, along with her demeaning and scathing remarks. Her eyes, once trained on Neville and him alone, were glazed while darting in all directions, twitches and spasms wracking her body, her hands shaking as if there was a shroud of fear wrapping around her.
Knowing the symptoms, Neville began to speak quickly, before she lost her grip on reality, "The spell digs into your mind from birth, dragging forth all the bad memories you have. Then it warps your perspective and makes you the victim, feeling everything that they would have felt as if it were a physical plague destroying you. There is no respite between visions, no end to the agony. For normal people, it wouldn't be so bad, because what's the worst they could've done? Teased someone and thrown a few rocks at some stray cat?"
Neville paused as he watched tears drip down Bellatrix's face, noting that she must have been a bully, even in her early years at Hogwarts to be effected so quickly. He watched her reactions with interest, for it was the first and last time he performed it on a human, not an insect, so reactions would of course be different.
"You can still hear me and things around here when the crimes are minor. But you've done terrible things, like murder and torture," Neville mentioned with a bitter undertone. "So you'll feel every little thing as if it were an eternity before death came to you. Before you asked whether I was getting revenge for my parents. I answered, 'Yes and no.' I'm not only avenging my parents, but every single person to whom you've ever done harm. Take a walk in someone else's shoes for a while; and a long while that'll be, because the spell won't go away until death or the caster removes it, and believe me when I say the guards of Azkaban will keep you alive until you're old and wrinkled like a prune."
"Please!" screamed Bellatrix, her voice desperate and shrill. "Release me! Stop this curse!" Her arms and legs shook as she tried to throw off the shackles binding her to the chair, as if she could run from the visions plaguing her mind.
"No, I don't think I will. After all, it took a long time to learn the curse in the first place; I never did get around to learning the counter-curse. Too bad for you, I guess," laughed Neville quietly. Turning on his heel, he walked away from a screaming Bellatrix, his robes billowing behind him. "Goodbye, Bellatrix. Have fun reminiscing about the good ol' days," called out Neville as a parting word.
The last thing that Bellatrix heard from him was the sound of his uncaring laughter and the slam of a door shutting for what seemed like the rest of her life. From that point on, she could only hear her own screams filling her ears.
A/N: What do you think? I think in the last book, Lestrange got off far too easily with death. This is my imagining of what happened if she were captured.
Yeah, maybe everyone was a tad OOC with their relish of revenge, but to be honest, I wouldn't blame them if they really did act like this.
Cookies for reading! Reviews would be great to help my fend off my growing insecurities! Haha. :-)