Author's Notes: Written for BellaPur's Daddy Challenge on xoxLewrahxox's Bellatrix Lestrange: The Dark Lord's Most Faithful forum.
The first of three one-shots. 500 words.
"I don't want to get married."
"It is not a choice."
"But I don't want to."
"You must keep the family bloodline alive."
"But I don't love Rodolphus."
"That is irrelevant."
That same conversation – or close variants of it – was repeated, Cygnus estimated, thirty or forty times in the week leading up the Bellatrix's wedding, with increasing frequency as the event approached. By the day of the wedding, nearly every word out of Bellatrix's mouth was regarding how she did not wish to marry, and he could not even hope to speak to Bellatrix without the argument coming up.
When the family arrived at the chapel where Bellatrix's wedding was to be held, she disappeared into the chamber where the bride and her father were to wait before the ceremony without so much as a glance at any other family member. Cygnus joined her, not pleased that he would have to wait there with her until the musical cue sounded for them to walk down the aisle.
Bellatrix has already slumped into one of the two straight-backed wooden chairs, and she had her arms crossed over the front of her dress. She glared mutinously at her father.
"I don't want to–"
"We have had this argument more times than I care to count already," Cygnus snapped at her, cutting her off before she could get started. "You have no choice in the matter. Neither of us ever had any choice, and now we have less than ever!"
"I hate you!" Bellatrix snapped, eyes blazing. "If you loved me, you wouldn't make me get married!"
"Stop behaving like a child, Bellatrix! You are nineteen years old, Rodolphus Lestrange is a good match, and you cannot back out now!"
Bellatrix turned away from him, scowling.
Do you think I want my eldest daughter to be miserable? Cygnus wanted to ask. If I could have, I would never have let you be betrothed to Lestrange. If he could have, he would have kept Bellatrix – and her sisters too – from marrying, ever. He would have kept them for eternity as his little girls.
But that was not an option. Pureblood girls married, whether they wanted to or not. And, he had no doubt, if he forbade her from marrying Rodolphus Lestrange, she would be whining about how unfair it was that she was not allowed to marry.
Music began to play – rich, deep organ music, and Cygnus took his daughter's arm firmly, pushing the door into the chapel open and all but dragging her down the aisle.
The whole ceremony through, Cygnus was sure that Bellatrix was going to do something. She would bolt for the chapel door, say "I don't" instead of "I do", whip out her wand and curse the priest into oblivion before turning on the rest of them.
But she didn't. She stood there, expression stony, and repeated the vows she had been taught.
And when Bellatrix received her wedding ring, Cygnus Black lost his first daughter to marriage.