Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. 'Nuff said?

This one's for Ellie (s i l v e r a u r o r a), because she wrote a brilliant Bellatrix-centred oneshot which blew me off my feet. It was brilliant, and you should all go read it. It's called 'the antonyms we create'.

Her cheek stings from where his gloved hand has struck her, and her eyes water. She's sixteen and she's far too old to be reprimanded by her father. She sticks her chin out because she won't cry because she's Bellatrix Black and she's better than that.

Her mother, Druella, tries to stop her as she slips on her shoes and ducks out of the house but Bellatrix shoots her a glare of such loathing that she stops and lets her daughter leave, turning to coo at little Cissy.

Bellatrix wanders about for a bit before it gets cold and she wishes she'd brought a jumper or something but doesn't want to go home. She finds herself on the Lestrange doorstep and wonders why she came here of all places and turns to leave, but the door banging open freezes her tracks.

"Bellatrix?" Rodolphus drawls, and Bellatrix smirks. He's twenty seven, and doesn't hesitate to indicate his interest in Bellatrix. She quite likes the attention, and the hand crawling up her thigh, but she'll never (ever) let anyone else know.

And this is her reckless moment. Later, tired and spent with no intention of returning home for now, she rolls over and pulls the covers to her chin and wishes her first time was better—not something stolen from her at sixteen, in a moment of recklessness.

It is her first true regret.

She graduates Hogwarts in 1969, and the only people who bother to attend are Cissy and Andromeda—the former of which spends the entire ceremony drooling mindless at Lucius Malfoy as no self-respecting Black should.

After, surrounded by a crowd of people who care little for her and more for the expensive liquor the Blacks never fail to provide at these social gatherings, she listens to her father prattle on about his pride, and how great a Black she will be.

She pretends not to notice his drunken slur and the way her mother keeps a grip on his elbow so he doesn't fall.

She also pretends not to notice the bored frown on Rodolphus' face as her father announces their engagement. She doesn't love him anyways. (She loves her status, and she'd rather be marrying him than those Mudbloods and Halfbloods Sirius seems to attract like moths to a flame.)

At the wedding, she picks boredly at her nails while she waits until he has said his vows, and then manages to say hers with a straight face, thinking of how greatly she's screwing everything over. In that last moment of hope before she says "I do," (in that slightly sing-song voice that is so her) she thinks maybe there's something more, something else worth fighting for.

She and her husband find it, mere months later, in the Dark Lord and the war he promises.

Her second and third regrets, she thinks.

She watches both her sisters marry—Narcissa to Lucius like she always dreamed, and Andromeda to a Muggle. That is the last Bellatrix sees of her sister and the Muggle before they are discommunicated.

Good riddance, she thinks a bit faintly—but the malice is there, and she doesn't miss her sister even when she thinks of how she never actually mastered the stunning spell half as neatly as willowy Andromeda.

The little things cease to matter when you're holding the bigger picture.

Soon, she can no longer count the amount of men she's killed with a simple spell on both hands, and her lord has taught her so many other spells that she needs not master the Stunning Spell after all and memories of her sister are left to perish with such thoughts as regrets and such emotions as grief.

There is nothing to her life now, but her lord and doing what he wishes.

When they come for her, she's ready. Her own cousin, Sirius, is there on the wings—fighting for the Order. She spits at him and cackles violently. He'll be one of the next to go, she bets. And if he isn't, then when she gets out, she's taking him down.

She goes down fighting—taken down by a Stunner no less, and the shame almost eats her alive and the memories of her sister bubble to the top and she fights them down with thoughts of her lord's disappointment in her.

"I am sorry, Master!" she screams, and the singsong voice Sirius remembers of his cousin is tainted and not as pure as the one he remembers of their little Bella Black, and he clucks pityingly before catching himself.

"She sounds delirious," James sniggers as they trail behind the Aurors, trickling out of the now burning building through a canopy of protective spells someone has thought to string around those who survive. Sirius chokes down his bile and laughs.

"Like she's lost it," he agrees.

No, Bella thinks, she's found it. She's found it all.

All the hope is dragged from her by the Dementors, until her darling cousin Sirius is convicted for the crime he dare not commit—the murder of Lily and James Potter. She wishes they'd shared a cell, she'd have knocked him senseless, even without her wand.

The thought fills her with such hysterical joy that it takes three Dementors and the promise of a kiss to suck it out of her, and she sits in her corner and tips her head back because she's still a Black and she'll keep her chin high.

Her cousin spits the news at her from his cell, and her whole world crumbles. The hope she's held that her lord will free her has been crushed by the discovery that he is gone.

She swears he'll come back, and she screeches so loudly that her cell has to be moved—she's distracting all the other long-term patients.

She doesn't mind—she doesn't even notice.

She starts to tick off the years in the back of her mind, and pulls herself into her own cocoon and busies herself with thoughts of all she's lost and will never regain. She thinks of her sisters, with hair their own shades and colours, of fathers with too much pride, of haughty aunts, and grieving Muggle families.

After a while she feels almost human again, and allows herself a regret a day.

She has a lot of days and even more regrets.

Hundreds of regrets later, she gets the news—her master is back. And every shred of humanity she's patched back together to form a blanket to draw up to her shoulders falls apart. She doesn't care much, she doesn't need it.

She thinks of murder, and pain and the beauty of these thinks and spends the summer planning her way out.

She finds herself outside the walls of Azkaban, and taking in a breath of cool air, her nightgown from years ago whipping around her and her breath condensing around her face, she goes to find her Master.

She reverts to her old life as if nothing has changed, busying herself with death and breathing in decay and the folded shreds of some blanket that kept her warm are packed into a box and left to age.

She remembers the promise she made, and the cousin she swore to get revenge on slips easily into her grasp. She doesn't even have to try. He tries to be the savour to James and Lily Potter's son in some mad act of ridding himself of the guilt he's held as close as she'd held her regret.

The green light reflects off his eyes—her eyes—before he falls through the veil.

The voice of some ignorant, naïve child with the world ahead of her whispers in the tones Bellatrix used to own (used to work), "Just another regret, huh, Bella?" and she throws her head back and lets the laughs spill out of her body. She feels beautiful.

She can't help but laugh when she sees Molly Weasley step up to challenge her. It's so laughable that it's pathetic. She'll join her son and then Bellatrix will return to her master's side. They've already won.

She is laughing when the curse hits her and she uses her last breathe to say, simply, "I'm sorry."

It's cold, and she wishes she had her blanket—but it's too late.

Bellatrix Black Lestrange regrets.

And it's okay if you thought this was rubbish. Leave a review and tell me why?