Author's Notes: Written for the "finalists" (for lack of a better term) part of vicky199416's "Happiest Moment of their Lives" Competition. I chose to write about my character's death.
Wish me luck!
The battle that has overtaken the Department of Mysteries rages around me, but I am unaware of it. I see only my cousin. She is all but a blur, moving so fast and with such grotesque grace that I can hardly focus on her. One clever spell catches her opponent and he falls.
I take the oppurunity to act the hero. I challenge her.
She turns on me and I can't help but be stunned as I get my first proper look at my cousin.
I wouldn't have recognized her.
Bellatrix's face is hollow and as gaunt as mine was when I first escaped Azkaban. She's as beautiful as ever, but in a completely different way from how she used to be. It gives me a horrible shock to see my own cousin – a cousin who decided I was dead to her years ago, true, but a cousin nonetheless – so completely destroyed.
She disgusts me.
"Sirius," she hisses back, dark eyes – eyes so like my own – unnaturally bright and wild. She slashes her wand in my direction and I am scarcely able to raise my own wand in time to block whatever curse she sent at me. I manage it, just barely, and I feel a grin breaking across my face at the sheer irony of it – Bellatrix was the one who taught me how to block spells.
"You're going to die smiling like that!" she spits, waving her wand. Her spells fly at me in quick succession – Stupefy, Crucio, Expelliarmus, Stupefy, Stupefy, Stupefy! – and I dance backwards until I am at the dius in the centre of the room, grinning all the while because I know it infuriates her. She pauses for half a second to draw breath and I take the opportunity to fling a wild, sloppy stunning spell her way. It has no effect but to send her staggering back a few steps and make her lose her concentration for a moment, but that's enough for me.
Anyone with sense would have taken advantage of Bellatrix's disorientation to send another spell at her, but I'm feeling theatrical now, and instead of doing the sensible thing, I climb up onto the dius. She's below me now, and suddenly I have the advantage – the psychological advantage if nothing else.
I raise my wand, set to deliver a final curse, one last spell to break her. I have no doubt now of my imminent victory. But a stray jet of light from another part of the battle flies between us, and in the time it takes me to register the distraction, Bellatrix is up on the dius with me, and I've lost my upper hand.
Her Cruciatus curse misses me by millimetres, the result of sloppy aim on her part rather than clever evasion of the spell on mine. Bellatrix's face is contorted with fury.
Suddenly, I see my new advantage.
Indulging in anger was always Bellatrix's vice.
I throw my head back and laugh. This perplexes her. My dear cousin has never understood laughter, least of all in situations like this. This is a truth I have known since we were children and I use it against her now. She is thrown off by my laughter, and in her second of confusion, I shoot a stunning spell her way. Though she deflects it without difficulty, I can tell that she's furious at me and at my nonchalance, and that she's hardly keeping herself under control.
She hurls a spell at me, and I dodge it with supreme ease, moving around the edge of the platform, behind the veil that stands in the centre. Bellatrix's spell hits the stone tiers on the wall behind me, shattering one. I can't stop grinning now – I never knew fighting like this, with my life and more at stake, could be so exciting. I might even dare to call it fun.
I step out from behind the veil again and now we're only a few feet apart, cramped by the confines of the dius. I block another curse, laughing all the while, with honest exhilaration now as well as a wish to annoy her. Bellatrix's face is scarlet with anger, but she too is laughing. Her laugh is a cackle, high and sharp and mirthless, born of her belief that she is going to win against me. How wrong she is, I think, deflecting her spell and sending it ricocheting into the wall. I know I will be victorious, know it like I know my own name. I can't even begin to imagine any other outcome.
Her next spell is wildly off-course and I laugh, taunting her. "Come on, you can do better than that!"
And she can.
And she does.
Her curse sails right under my wand arm and catches me in the chest, throwing me into the air. I feel a whisper of fabric at my back and know that I'm falling through the veil we've been dancing around. I hear Harry's (oh God, Harry, who's going to take care of Harry?) scream as the veil whispers around me.
Bellatrix's face – the last thing I see in this life – registers pure shock.
In the interminable seconds before my world ends, I know, without so much as the shadow of a doubt, that my cousin never meant to kill me.
What she cast was not a killing curse.