Author's Notes: Drabble, written for AsterLea's Dads and Daughters Challenge on the HPFC forum. This is sort of a sequel to Dresses and Dolls, but it should stand all right on its own too. Enjoy.
Cygnus Black examined his eldest daughter. Bellatrix stood, back very straight, face empty of any emotion, staring straight ahead, right past her father.
Her wedding dress, the rose-coloured confection of lace and silk that had been passed down through the Blacks for years, was ruined, having been subjected to Bellatrix's rather questionable taste in fashion. Where once the gown had been adorned with yards of lace, it now had only a few ragged threads to show that any decoration had been attached to it. The high neck and sleeves had been cut back, revealing far more skin than was seemly for a Pureblood girl on her wedding day. The girl didn't look like a bride, Cygnus thought, she looked like a murder victim.
"We do not have time," he said, his voice shaking with suppressed anger, "to repair the dress."
"I know." Bellatrix's voice was flat, and she continued to stare past him.
"You will have to be married in this…" Cygnus waved at the ruined gown, "this disaster of a wedding dress."
"That was the general idea," Bellatrix said. Cygnus drew back his hand and slapped her. Impertinent!
Bellatrix put her hand up to touch her cheek, and smiled for the first time. "When I am married, you will never be able to hit me again."
Cygnus was red in the face, and shaking with rage. "If you do not show proper regret for what you have done, you will not be married!"
"You can't turn Rodolphus down now," Bellatrix said. She raised her chin, and smiled coldly at her father, for she knew she had the upper hand. "If you told him he could not marry me, then the wedding would have to be cancelled, and how would you explain that to the guests? What would you tell them? What would they think?"
She left her question hanging, let her father consider the reactions of all the rich, Pureblood families he had invited to his eldest daughter's wedding. Bellatrix could almost hear their whispers already, Bellatrix Black, not married? Why on earth? There is only one reason to cancel a marriage… she must not be a virgin… her parents have failed to bring up a good, proper lady…
Cygnus's jaw clenched. Bellatrix was right, of course. He could not call off the wedding when so much rode on it – his standing among the other Pureblood families, Bellatrix's future, and Narcissa's as well (If the Blacks cannot keep their first daughter pure, how could they keep their last?). In his fury at being proven so very wrong by his daughter, and having her stand in front of him, in the dress he had made it possible for her to wear, which she had ruined…
He slapped her again, hard enough to make her neck snap backwards and send her reeling.
"Fine," he said, voice icy. "Be married in that wretched thing, if it means so much to you. If you want to look like you've been murdered on your wedding day, that is not my concern."
He turned on his heel and swept out of the room. Bellatrix stared at the door for a long time.
Murdered on my wedding day?
What an apt way of putting it.