Anything familiar belongs to JK Rowling, including the characters, most settings, and basic plot-line. All OCs are mine. Including all interpretations of characters, meanings of the books and such.
**So now that's done, remember to review it (despite the fact that this chapter and several others are redone and this story is finished and has been carried on in the Sequel Phoenix Honor, still review it)
October 31st. All Hallows Eve. A date well celebrated in the wizarding community. It was the very night that Bellatrix found herself resenting. She normally resented the date because of the filthy Mudbloods that coveted it from them and turned it into a night of pilfering candy and wearing chilish masks. But recently, she resented it because she had spent hours of never-ending frsutration and slight agony delivering something she should have gotten rid of when she discovered its very existence.
The very bane of her existence lay swaddled in a customary pink blanket in a white basinet. Her cheeks were dusted with pink, her eye lashes were dark and long, she bore a button nose and already had full pink lips, no doubt a gene from herself. She even had Bellatrix's own infamous heavy lidded eyes. And somehow, the Black family had acquired a recessive gene from somewhere down the line and the child had inherited the Metamorphmagous gene. Not unlike Andromeda's little stain. One more reason to dislike her. She bore a constant reminder of her sister's mistake. She hated it, because it made her feel like Andromeda, someone she had cast out years ago, had something in common with her, having two daughters with a trait like that.
Bellatrix's dark eyes moved from the sleeping newborn to the corner of the dimly lit room which held the numerous 'gifts' from fellow followers. Stuffed animals, blankets, baby clothes. She knew it was just for show. None of them cared about her having a child any more than she cared if they did. But Rodolphus seemed to enjoy it. He had even commented on her cousin Regulus' sense of humor when the boy had given them "Parenting for Nim-rods" with that dead-pan expression of his.
But Bellatrix could feel nothing. Narcissa had told her once that her maternal instincts would kick-in when she held her daughter for the first time. But all she saw was a screaming being. The reason she had been unable to assist the Dark Lord for months. She tried, she did, to feel something. She looked at her own mother for inspiration. Druella had been affection, or as much as she could have. She soothed them when they cried, healed them when they were injured, comforted them when they were ill and protected them from the boggarts in their closets. She was a distant woman emotionally, but Bellatrix had seen that unwavering look of affection and pride on occassion. She had grown up with a mother she knew loved her. As sentimental as that was, however weird one might think it was, she look comfort in knowing that fact.
She knew Andromeda, if she would do one thing right after her many mistakes, it would be parenting. She was always the warmer one, compared to her and their slightly ceonceited younger sister. But Narcissa had always desired a child. She wanted one. Andromeda could mother, Narcissa wanted one, but Bellatrix herself...she had never wanted one. She had never desired a child. And now that she had one...she felt nothing. She supposed she was beautiful to look at, she had all the Black traits. But...she felt as if the part of her than might have once been able to love a child, was frozen over and dead.
The only purpose the child served to her was that when she was older she could serve her Master. That she was a link to hold onto to keep Narcissa around. She was a reminder, however slight and however much she truly shouldn't like it, so Andromeda. And she pleased Rodolphus and kept him content, which seemed to be more than Bellatrix herself could do. It was odd, seeing a man who was so cold in battle embrace a tiny, fragile creature in his arms. But he seemed satisfied with having a child, despite the fact he had truly wanted a son, an heir. But he had said he could make do with a daughter.
Bellatrix could hearing the sound of footsteps on the floor outside in the hall of their new home, LeStrange Manor, which had been given to them by her in-laws after their passing. She turned slightly, barely acknowledging the visitor. It was Ebony Stict, a fellow female servant of the Dark Lord. Ebony was just slightly older than her, thinner, with an almost exotic look to her. Her tanned skin and dark hair gave her that impression, along with her constant air of regal grace in her posture. But her eyes were glinting, almost sadistic looking, and Bellatrix had come to admire the woman. Despite the fact she was due to shortly deliver a daughter of her own soon. And had Bellatrix and Narcissa not fought just before her own delivery, Ebony would probably not be standing in this room with the title of God Mother.
"The Dark Lord 'az called a meeting, Bella." Ebony spoke, her French accent flowing.
"I shall be there momentarily then."
Ebony hesitated in the doorway, cocking her head to the side slightly, gazing at the child.
"You are lucky to be blessed with such a beautiful daughter." Ebony commented.
Bellatrix straightened herself and turned then, ushering them out of the room without a reply, leaving the child in the darkness.
Ebony set the child down on the floor, waving slightly in parting to Narcissa who swiftly flicked her wand and disapparrated from the Stict doorstep. Monty, Ebony's husband, moved from his place beside the door and smiled warmly at the girl, playfully tugging on a deep violet ringlet of hair. Stormy eyes raised to look at him, smiling happily with all the innocence of a child, despite the bruise on her cheek that was yellowing now.
Ebony took a silent inventory of her goddaughter. She wore a yellow sundress, no doubt provided by Narcissa considering Bellatrix's high distaste for color. She had the bruise on her cheek, another resembling a bony hand on her right wrist and a scrape on her left knee. Ebony shook her head. Sirius was going to have a cow when he saw her. Though, he might as well just have a whole farm and be done with it. The situation wasn't going to change. Dumbledore could not very well remove the girl from her home and the Ministry was wrapped tightly around The Dark Lord's finger.
Ever since Monty had threatened to divorce her for her sins, ever since she had pleaded with Dumbledore to protect her and her family if she promised to be of use to him to satisfy her husband...ever since then she had found a mutual understanding with Sirius Black. Ebony herself had been putoff by the birthing of Aeronanna LeStrange, just as he had, but both had found themselves pulled into her presences likes Moths to flame their very first meeting.
Dumbledore had stated that Aeroanna lived with Death Eaters and doubted a single one of them would sensor themselves around her, so when she started talking Ebony was to take her to meetings whenever she was in charge of watching her, which was when Bellatrix and Rodolphus had an assignment without her and Narcissa was doing whatever it was Narcissa did. So Aeroanna had become an informant of sorts, without even knowing it. She innocently told them what Mummy and Daddy did when they had company, if they ever talked about their 'boss' or 'work'. That very first meeting, about a month ago, was when she had met her cousin Sirius, who had been outraged at her appearance until Ebony had to do something and set Aeroanna in his lap. When she had returned Sirius was bouncing her on his knee and singing a rhym to her and she was wearing James Potter's glasses with Lily Potter and Remus Lupin hovering with jovial smiles behind them.
"Carpathia! No running in the house!" Ebony shouted suddenly at one her eldest children, who sped by her with a 'sorry mum!' over her shoulder.
Evangline, her eldest, who was ten now, came down the stairs, greeting Aeroanna with a wide smile. Her blonde hair fell around her shoulder and looked up at her mother with Ebony's own dark eyes.
"Mum, Thantos and Owen are fighting again." she told her.
Bellatrix complained about one kid. She shook her head.
"Owen threw a dart at Xoe's head."
Ebony raised her eyes to the ceiling and counted to ten. She blew out threw her nose and took another deep breath. Xoe was about Aeroanna's age, and now currently had a dart stuck in her forehead via her youngest son. Merlin.
"I'll be up in a minute. Carpathia, leave that cat alone!" Carpathia scared a tabby into the living room shouting 'alright, Mum!" over her shoulder. Again.
And then Sirius Black apparrated into her foyer and the cat screeched and Carpathia gave a shreik of laughter in responce before running it up the stairs. Sirius was grinning a boyish grin, his dark hair falling into his eyes, his leather jacket on as usual. The Black family ring, which he acquired from his uncle Alphard (the only reason Sirius wore the emblem) shined on his finger.
"How's Aero?" he said with a grin.
It soon faded when he saw the bruises and his face became grim.
"Sirius, calm down. You only have tonight with her. I need her by nine am tomorrow morning. Now stop with this childish behavior. There's nothing you can do and she's fine. Take her, I have to go de-dart my daughter." Ebony sighed, moving quickly up the stairs.
Sirius gave Monty a confused look. Monty replied in kind with "The downside of having sons," before handing Aero, as Sirius affectionately called her, to Sirius and moving to follow Carpathia before their cat died of heart failure.
The eldest Black son gave a shrug and gathered Aero into his arms, squeezing her sides and earning a giggle, Sirius watching her fondly, before he disapparrated.
He reappeared in the Potter house with a crack. James was sleeping on the couch, sprawled out, glasses askew on his face and mouth parted as he snored slightly. Lily came out of the kitchen, Harry on her hip as he played with a strand of her bright red hair. He giggled when he set sight on Sirius and Aero.
Sirius dropped his small cousin to the ground and Lily set Harry down, and Aero immediatley ran over and reached under his arms, half-dragging the cooing baby into the next room where his toys were. Sirius gave a bark of laughter at the display and Lily rolled her eyes good naturedly. James awoke then, blinking in confusion.
"Oi, Sirius mate, when'd you get here?" he wondered, fixing his glasses as he sat up.
"You sleep like the dead, Prongs." Sirius stated.
"Hello to you too, Padfoot."
"Hello, Sirius." Lily greeted.
"Lils, very pleased to see you as well." Sirius said, smiling charmingly.
"You know Sirius, I was just talking to Dae-" "No."
"Sirius." Lily groaned in exasperation, her hands on her hips.
"No." Sirius replied firmly.
James blinked up at them.
"Anywho...I hear there's a meeting tonight." James said.
"Yup." Sirius replied.
"Can we actually go to this one?" James wondered, a hint of bitterness in his voice.
"Prongs...you know this is for your own good." Sirius said sympathetically.
"That doesn't make sitting around here all day any easier. I want to go outside, I want to see something besides this house everyday, be part of the action." James said, frowning.
"Oh, love, I know this is hard. It's hard on me too, but hopefully this will be over soon." Lily soothed him, brushing some wild hair from his face.
"Sirius gets to go out..." James mumbled.
"Well if Sirius jumped off a cliff would you - oh who am I kidding, of course you would, you bloody Marauders." Lily said, shaking her head.
James and Sirius both grinned.
"Now what would I be doing jumping off a cliff, may I ask?" Sirius asked teasingly.
"Fulfilling my lifelong dream, Black." Lily replied cheekily.
Sirius put a hand to his heart in mock offence.
"Prooongs!" he whined.
James grinned at them both. Just then Aero came through on her little toy broom, zooming around the room, a beaters bat James had gotten her for her second birthday in her hand. She made 'zoom' noises as she threw and then mumbling something as if narrating her own Quidditch game and Harry flew unsteadily behind her, though quickly, cackling madly.
The trio watched them with amused expressions.
"Hey, what's that necklace she's got there?" James wondered.
"Ah, a locket. It's got the Black emblem on it, just to match my ring. Uncle Alphard gave it to me. It was supposed to go to the next female in his line, but since he didn't have children, he left it to me. And I figure she's the closest I'm getting so..." Sirius said with a shrug.
"Well if you'd only talk to Dael-" "Lily. No." "But she wants to -" "I don't care."
"What are you doing for her birthday?" James asked, interrupting the argument.
"Don't know. Bring her here? She loves spending time with Harry. She doesn't need much, she's simple. Arthur wants me to bring her over to the Burrow, wants to meet the girl his brother-in-laws spoke so entertainingly of, introduce her to his two twins." Sirius said with a smile.
"I bet they told them all about the times they helped you babysit her when we went on missions." James said with a grin.
"Like the time she got into the flower in the kitchen -"
"And the time she spilled glue on the neighbor's cat -"
"And the time you three managed to get her drunk- " James said with a laugh. "That was not funny in the least!" Lily shouted.
"I know. But arse was sore for a week. You didn't need to beat me, you know." Sirius muttered with a grin.
A crash echoed from across the house and then Harry was laughing hysterically and Aero came bursting into the room, a sheepish expression on her face, her hair turning pink in embarressment.
"Sorry 'bout the lamp...Siyrus pay for that." she said.
"I'll be doing what?"
October 31st was there, and Sirius had Aero for her birthday. Narcissa was off on a trip with her son, Draco, and Ebony had had her for the afternoon. He finished writing what was left for for a journal entry and shoved it into the box. It was something he had taken up after meeting Aero. He was in the Order and a good chance he might not make it. Well, he knew that she'd end up being solely raised by his cousin, and he didn't want Bellatrix's warped mind raising her to believe that Sirius didn't love her, despite the fact Bellatrix didn't know about their close relationship, though really the fact Aero had turned her dark eyes gray since their meeting should have clued them in. But because of the threat to his life from this war, he decided to have a memoir of sorts, having a box he'd leave with Ebony to give her when she was older, telling her how he had become an Animgus, about the Marauders, their family, his life, the war, how much he loved her. He had pictures of them, even ones of his school days, several of Aero...
He sighed and put it on top of his cluttered desk of sloppy-written papers and headed out. He picked her up at Ebony's like usual. He was just about to apparrate to the Potter's in Godric's Hollow when he swore, Aero pinching his arm hard for 'saying a bad word' and him apologizing profusely. He had forgotten to check on Peter and make-sure he was alright.
He hiked Aero up high on his hip and left with a crack, ending up outside the little shack of a house they had stored Peter in. His heart stopped when the door was slightly open. He switched arms with Aero and picked up his wand, moving slowly into the house. He hated Aero was with him right now, when they could be entering a dangerous place, but it was too late now.
There didn't seem to be any sight of a struggle, no furniture knocked over, no broken windows, even the bed was perfectly made. Sirius' heart contracted. There was no Peter either. He swore again, but apparrently sensing the atmosphere, Aero didn't reprimand him this time. She was stiff in his arms, her face contorted into a confused expression, her eyes scanning the room.
"The mouse-man isn't here..." she whispered in his ear.
"You're right...let's go find him." Sirius said absently.
Aero nodded determindely.
They disapparrated and ended up by the Potter's house. It was in ruins. Sirius let out an anguished sound and Aero was placed quickly on the ground as Sirius rushed through, dropping to his knees, and kneeling over James, his eyes open and unseeing. Sirius let out a sob again and his eyes stung with tears. He shook his friend uselessly. His brother, his best friend, was dead.
"James no..." he cried.
He numbly got to his feet, finding his way to the nursery, and found Lily's body. He felt like breaking. He kneeled down again and brushed hair from her pale face. She had been crying...
He stood then, and moved to stand over the crib. Harry was there, asleep. His forehead was red, something there, but Sirius hardly noticed. He was too bust being concerned with the relief to find him breathing. He lifted the infant into his arms and stumbled back out to the sidewalk, suddenly cursing himself for leaving his cousin out there defenseless. She stood there, in her purple dress, watching him somewhat wearily. When he was close enough she fist his jeans.
And then Hagrid appeared. He asked what had happened and Sirius was too numb to really pay attention...James was dead...
"Let me have him." SIrius said hoarsely.
"Ah, I can't, Sirius mate. Dumbledore's orders...I have to take him..."
"But I'm his godfather!"
"I know that Sirius, but Dumbledore..."
Sirius bit his lip and nodded, suddenly determinded.
"Then take my bike. It was parked outside their house. Just there " Sirius said, pointing. "Take it. I won't be needing it."
Hagrid took Harry wearily, trying to figure out was emotion was playing across the younger man's face. Aero pulled wonderingly on his pant leg.
"Where's Harry going?" she asked, watching Hagrid through narrowed eyes.
"Away. Just...away." Sirius mumured.
"Why?" she asked.
Sirius bent down, scooping her up into his arms and holding her to his chest, more for comfort then anything. She frowned and placed a tiny hand on his cheek, touching the tears there.
"Something horrible has happened." he whispered.
Aero wathed him, and Sirius felt more tears at her suddenly frightened expression. He had just lost his best friend and now she was losing hers. They were quite the pair...
"James and Lily...they aren't going to be around anymore...they're...with the angels now...far away..." he said quietly, his voice breaking.
Hagrid felt tears prick his own eyes.
"Like...where Gideon and Fabian went? And Miss Marlene?" she wondered.
"Yes...just like them. And Harry is going to stay with his aunt...you won't see him for awhile..." he said, tears running freely now.
Tears filled Aero's own eyes. Sirius felt a crushing blow hit him now. To be introduced to death at such a young age...
Sirius nodded to Hagrid, who watched the now broken man disapparate.
Sirius knew he didn't have time. Everyone thought he was the secret Keeper. Peter had given them up. He was going to hunt down that low-life...but first thing first. He set Aero down on his bed and scribbled something on some pieces of paper. After ten minutes and a hand cramp he shoved it inside his box, along with his ring, a stuffed dog he was planning on giving to her that night that was the image of his Padfoot form and grabbed the box under one arm and Aero under the other.
He reappeared on Ebony's doorstep, managing to open the door and striding inside, looking around frantically.
Ebony came rushing down the stairs, having heard the alarm for a visitor go off. Her eyes widened at his panicked state.
"Sirius, what on Earth is wrong?" she wondered.
Sirius shook his head. He handed her the box.
"I don't have time...there isn't time...something went wrong...he told..." he said, finally breaking down.
Ebony watched him in fear.
"Who told what? Sirius?" she asked.
Monty came down the stairs then, watching them, alarmed.
"I'll kill him...he's a rat...Tell Remus I'm sorry..."
"Sirius, form a sentence!" Ebony cried.
Sirius shook his head quickly.
"Give her that...give her that when she's older...when he goes to school...tell her I love her...please..." he sobbed.
"Sirius..." Monty said quietly.
Aero clung to his shoulder, watching him silently, a troubled look on her face.
Sirius turned his head to look at her.
"I have to leave." he whispered.
Aero pursed her lips together, her brows furrowed and tears forming.
"For long?" she whispered back.
"Why?" she cried, her voice cracking.
"Because...Because people are going to think I did a very bad thing..."
"No...and I want you to remember that...remember that I love you...and when you see Harry again, tell him I love him too..."
Aero nodded dutifully.
"And Aero...I'll come back. I'll find you and Harry again, I promise." he said, pushing their foreheads together.
Her eyes widened, having heard him use the biggest promise of all, and nodded against his head.
Sirius kissed her forehead and set her down on the ground, ushering her towards Ebony and Monty.
"Don't let her turn out them the rest of them." he demanded.
Ebony nodded silently, confused and alarmed at the whole moment.
Sirius took a deep breath, looked at Aero one more time and walked out the door. When it closed behind him and he entered the darkness he raised his eyes to the sky.
"Happy birthday, Aero."
Any character that may come up, like one mentioned to Sirius by Lily here, are my own characters that will be explained further in Phoenix honor and my other story, Marauder Honor, that you don't have to read to read this one. I swear.