She watches herself in the mirror as she brushes her hair, calming her nerves and putting an impassive mask over her features. Her eyes keep betraying her; while her forehead is smooth and unlined, her mouth turned into a slight frown, her eyes are staring back, terrified. She looks like a lamb on her way into the lion's den. Or, to be more apt., a raven heading into a world full of snakes. There are rumours that he can read minds, that he can burrow inside you, find your weaknesses and kill you for them. She's not ignorant, she knows about occulmency, but that's an almost impossible art to learn. If he has mastered it, then she would be a fool not to join him. So she tries to calm her thoughts, knowing that she must prepare her mental projections before she sees him. She won't think about the real reason she's joining his side, just that she wants protection and above all power. Well, knowledge is a type of power, and any good Ravenclaw pursues knowledge. She thinks about the exhilarating feeling she used to get after winning duels and how much her lineage means to her, how much it meant to her father.

Then her real reason walks into the room, a hurricane crashing through her calm thoughts. Their eyes meet in the mirror and Bellatrix smiles, her hooded eyes flashing as she picks up the hairbrush and continues the task. She's not gentle like a mother, or a housemate. She's far too rapid for that. Her hands seem to be shaking and she's pulling faces into the mirror.

"I can't wait for you to meet him, Dora. Everything will change then, the whole world will be yours." Eudora smiles back but her eyes falter. "You aren't nervous, are you?"

"They're good nerves, I promise. It just feels like I have been waiting for so long." She pauses, and frowns. "Are you sure he won't mind about me being a 'Claw?"

"Nah, it just means that you're clever, not that you're a muggle lover. Anyway, I've been raving about your duelling skills to him. He's intrigued, to say the least." The thought that she could intrigue him makes her feel nauseous. She thinks back to her school days, winning the prize at Duelling club, her name on a plaque forever in the trophy room. Her father had been a champion dueller too, and had regaled her with tales of his matches through her childhood. Would he have done this? Used his skills for this cause? He had always been careful to remind her that his duels were regulated, that he had to follow the rules and etiquette, otherwise it would become a fight. In doing this she was throwing away the rulebooks, instead turning to a fight for power, for survival. But in the end, it had to be the same. Winning is winning, isn't it?

"If you're sure."

"I'm positive," Bellatrix puts the hairbrush down after one last sweep and tucks a strand of hair behind Eudora's ear, causing a shiver "There, pretty as a picture." Eudora stands, smoothes down her dress and puts on her best cloak, a soft wool one that her mother had sent to her last Christmas, it's a dark green, almost black, she had imagined when dressing that dark colours would be appropriate, given what she was about to do. She then pauses by the mirror, should she be doing this? Would it help? The emerald ring on Bellatrix's wedding finger taunts her. Yes, she had to do this.

"Let's go." Bellatrix grabs her arm and they apparate out together.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Harry Potter or any of its characters, settings or situations. All belongs to JK Rowling and Warner Bros.

(Except Eudora, of course.)

Critique is always welcome.