24 June 1996

"Longbottom?" repeated Bellatrix, and a truly evil smile lit her gaunt face. "Why, I have had the pleasure—" she licked her thin lips— "of meeting your parents, boy…"

He was a fat thing, like his vile, Mudblood mother. Couldn't have been more than fifteen. Bellatrix was unafraid when he screamed at her—she could see nothing of his father's so-called bravery in his bloodied features.

"I DOE YOU HAB!" He fought furiously against Jugson's grasp, to no avail. Bella laughed in a low, quiet voice and licked her lips again. The Longbottom boy kicked back, and Jugson—the coward, the incompetent fool—cried out for someone to Stun him.

"No, no, no," Bellatrix hissed, feeling her body flush with heat, her heartbeat race with anticipation. Her eyes widened and she stepped closer to the boy. "No…let's see how long Longbottom lasts before hecracks—" she put special emphasis on the word as she leaned towards his face. "Like his parents," she said softly, mockingly.

Bellatrix's cheeks burned with excitement at the prospect of torture and death, but she had a sudden, dim recollection that there truly was a reason she was here tonight. Other than the things she lived to do. She turned her gaze to the Potter boy, restrained only by the tip of Dolohov's wand aimed directly at his heart. "Unless Potter wants to give us the prophecy—"

"DON'D GIB ID DO DEM! DON'D GIB ID DO DEM, HARRY!"

The boy's shrieks were too much for Bellatrix's high-strung mood. Enough of this stupidity—she slashed her wand—

"CRUCIO!" she screamed, feeling the pleasure that only the suffering of others can bring, course straight from her stomach, burning through her shoulder and tingling down her wand hand. She shrieked with laughter when the fat Longbottom child fell at Jugson's feet, writhing and screaming, and lifted the wand. Her blood roared in her ears.

Interesting. His parents had not screamed until at least the third time she had raised her wand to them. Perhaps torturing their spawn would not be so fun. "That was just a taster," she promised, her voice dripping with the hatred that was pounding blindly through her veins. She glanced at Lucius, licked her lips, and turned to Potter again, seeing the little glass sphere clutched in his hand.

"Now, Potter, either give us the prophecy, or watch your little friend die the hard way," Bellatrix demanded, not lifting her wand from the Longbottom boy's sobbing figure, huddled on the floor.

Bellatrix knew in an instant she had won. Like his parents, like Longbottom's too, Potter was intensely devoted to the ideals of love—he cared for his friends. He would not let them die.

He obediently held out the sphere, and Bellatrix shrieked with laughter as Lucius fumbled eagerly for it. She turned back to Longbottom, ready to fire a Killing Curse before rounding on Potter—

Several loud bangs echoed around the top of the arena-like room, and Bellatrix spun around, searching madly for the source—doors were flung open, and more had arrived. Moody, the old fool—the werewolf—the Auror—

Oh, this was much, much better.

Bellatrix licked her lips as she locked eyes with Andromeda's little bastard, who fired a Stunning Spell at Malfoy. Her heart leapt when, not ten feet behind her, raced her favorite cousin. Which to choose, which to choose—around her, the men were scattering with great yells and bellows. Rookwood, Macnair, Mulciber, Avery, and Jugson fled in opposite directions. If Bellatrix had not seen her quarry, known what she wanted, she would have murdered them all where they cowered.

Instead, she stood still for a moment, breathing in the split-second before battle—

She opened her eyes and barreled past Rabastan and Rodolphus, who had taken on Shacklebolt, the Auror—she flew past Dolohov, who was already locked in a duel with Moody.

Bellatrix paid no attention. Her eyes met very bright, sharp brown ones that were flying down the steps toward her. Andromeda's child gave a great yell and brought her wand slashing downward as she leapt onto the dais. Bellatrix easily blocked the curse, and began to laugh. Shame…abomination…filth…the words burned in Bellatrix's mind, and the rhythm began to play in her ears, keeping time with her pounding blood and racing thoughts.

For Bellatrix, a duel was like music—the war around it, a symphony. Screams, curses, light, color, all blended together to form a rhythm that Bellatrix knew instantly, readily, and could control. Her mind was clear, calm, and singularly focused—she did not dwell on one battle while in another. She kept only one thing in her thoughts: end the opponent, no matter how hard they fought.

So when others fought for love, people, things like hope—such foolish, pointless endeavors—Bellatrix fought for the real, visceral sense of wrenching life, power away from the weak grasp of another.

"STUPEFY!"

Bellatrix smashed it away easily, advancing across the dais toward the girl, still laughing. With a casual flick of her wand, perfectly in time with the symphony playing all around her, the girl's side split wide open, pouring blood. She held one hand against it, but didn't lower her wand against Bellatrix.

"STUPEFY!" she bellowed. "STUPEFY! STUPEFY!" Bellatrix dodged them all. The girl, fury in her features, made a complicated move with her wand and a bright orange jet of light aimed straight for Bellatrix's heart.

Bellatrix blocked it lazily, and sent one of Dolohov's specialties at the girl. That light was absolutely marvelous, she thought, watching the girl crumple. How disappointing. She had wanted so badly to hurt the girl.

Bellatrix glanced around the chamber—the men were doing fairly well, it seemed. She looked back to the body at her feet. It would be so easy—finally eliminate the weak link of her ancestry. Andromeda would come later. A small matter. She stepped over the girl's body and kicked her, sending her spinning off the dais.

Just as Bellatrix prepared to leap after her, to finish the foulness that polluted her bloodline, she heard a great yell—the Animagus was charging towards her.

Now this would be fun. Her mind changed track smoothly as a boat cutting through the glassy surface of a lake, and the rhythm of the music changed, roaring in her ears louder—Andromeda who? She wanted the blood traitor with every fiber of her being.

She flung a curse at him, ready to watch him crumple in pain, too—ah, but he was much more controlled than the girl. He deflected it and jumped on top of the dais. Bellatrix began to circle, drawing energy from the shouts and screams echoing all around her. She licked her lips, still laughing.

"You're dead," she muttered.

"Not quite." He aimed a jet of white-hot light that she ducked—it burned, she could feel its magic superheating the air.

"Crucio!" Bellatrix screamed, but the blood traitor was too quick—he rolled out of the way, broke her rhythm—but Bellatrix wouldn't give him up, she wanted to see his pain, hear him scream. She found her pace again, fired more torture curses in quick succession, and every single time he would just barely avoid them. He broke her rhythm again, aimed a blasting curse at her feet, and she was pitched high into the air, landing on her back at the edge of the dais.

Bellatrix didn't move. Rage filled her senses, and she leapt to her feet. She couldn't hear the symphony any longer—a new voice, new notes of fear entered the room. Bellatrix was dimly aware that Dumbledore had joined the fight. From where, or how, she did not care. She had her prey. She fired a jet of red light at the traitor, no longer caring what her curses did—he was a dead man, but not before he suffered. Hatred transported her, removed her from her body, and she was no longer laughing.

"Come on! You can do better than that!" he taunted, blocking her curses one after the other.

And that was it.

Bellatrix gave a scream of fury and hatred that shook her very core. The mark on her arm burned with the anger surging through her veins. She wanted this man dead more than she wanted her own life, and she would have it.

"AVADA KEDAVRA!" she roared, and the green light filled every particle of her being. It rocketed towards him—he was not fast enough to escape death.

He fell backwards, through the veil of Death, his eyes hilariously wide and shocked. Sound, sensation began to return to Bellatrix. She heard the rhythm of the war music returning, building up through her feet…her legs…her torso…her arms…and finally ringing through her head, finally clear once again.

Bellatrix closed her eyes, threw her head back, and began to laugh. The laughter joined the echoes bangs and shouts all around the room, building the music to a crescendo, the warning to escape from Dumbledore, or be left behind to face Azkaban again—

"SIRIUS! SIRIUS! SIRIUS!"

Bellatrix's eyes fluttered open, and she found herself staring directly into the eyes of the Potter boy. She licked her thin lips again, as the symphony of war filled her with limitless hatred. A low laugh escaped her lips.


My Fanfiction Idol audition piece, as well as a challenge response to Hugo Purist's "A Different Point of View" challenge.

Lucy