This was written for astronauts' Legitimately Challenging Challenge at the Harry Potter Fanfiction Challenges Forum. My prompts were Bill/Bellatrix, "Maelstrom", horror and drabble. On the last, I failed miserably, since this is far too long to be considered a drabble.
This is far and away the oddest thing I have ever written, and takes place in a galaxy light years away from JKR's canon and nearly as far from my own HP stories.
The characters, of course, belong to JKR. The plot is mine alone, and I take full blame for it :-)
He knocks against her on the last day of August, as he is leaving work for the day. He turns to apologise and stops short in astonishment. He knows she is dead. He saw her die.
But his protests die on his lips as she looks into his eyes. Black eyes meet blue, and he is lost. She smiles, licks lips that are far too red for a real woman, and runs a fingernail down the side of his face. The skin over his scars is thin and bleeds easily. She sucks her finger with apparent relish. He tastes blood on his lips.
"Full Moon," she says. "Next week. You will know where."
Then she is gone, and he is left shaking his head, as if awakening from a dream.
She is dead, but she refuses to know it, and her dark magic calls those around her who are as lost as she. They circle the hilltop where she stands, their howls and cries adding to the noise of the thunder and the crack of the lightning.
And he comes, as she knew he would, drawn by the wolf in his blood.
Black eyes meet blue again, and they couple on the hillside in the maelstrom of storm and the creatures' noise.
In the morning, he wakes alone on the hillside, but remembers nothing that has happened.
He is used to being ill at the Full Moon, to not remembering, to waking in strange places. For four months he comes to her when the moon is full, and she bides her time and does not use him as her instrument until she is sure of him and of the life he has begun within her. On the fifth Moon, she sends him out with a knife in his hand, silver-bladed and sharp, and in the morning his father, a brother and his little sister are found dead.
He remembers nothing, and mourns with his remaining family a loss none of them can comprehend.
Two months pass, the babe within her grows, and he continues to come to her at the Full Moon. Between the Moons now he is becoming restless and ill, he feels it is more than the death of half of his family, and sometimes he almost remembers, but it is always lost on the edge of a dream, in a memory that never quite comes to fullness. His wife, cocooned in her own pregnancy, sees nothing, focussed on the child within.
The dark woman, who should not live but does, knows that the child she carries will live and thrive to do her will. Now it does not concern her. She exists still for more deaths, in revenge for her own that she will not yet acknowledge. At the eighth Moon, more die at her lover's hand. Two younger brothers, their blood smearing a shop window, pooling on the floor, and their lifeless bodies propped grotesquely in a display window for the early morning shoppers to see. And a grave in a country churchyard is opened, a young man's body left bare on the ground for the wind and the birds and the flint grey sky.
In the morning, he has earth and blood on his hands and his robes, and he cannot choose but remember. But the sunrise brings a kind of oblivion, and he chooses the forgetfulness that is easier, even as it numbs and weakens him, making him cold and dead from within.
There is only his mother and a brother left, as well as his wife and unborn child, and he is beginning, to remember with his waking mind. But he will not or cannot acknowledge it, and when it becomes overwhelming, the wolf takes him over and gives him the freedom of indifference. His wife does not understand. She is frightened of him now, of his moodiness, his silence, his refusal to touch her, save when his sudden rages send her flying from his fists and his teeth. Quietly, she makes plans to leave, to return to her own people. She should never have stayed in this grey and dangerous country.
But she is overtaken by the urge of the babe within her to be born, and her labour begins, abruptly and fiercely on the night of the Full Moon, two days before she had planned to go home. He leaves her alone in the cottage, writhing and screaming in pain, and does not look back.
As the fair woman struggles and fights to bring forth her child, the dark woman births hers with triumphant ease, and holds her high to the rising Moon as her lover or captive approaches. He smiles, sharing in her joy, and they mate again, for what will be the final time. As dawn approaches, she begins to fade, and she is gone with the morning mist before the sun rises. The dark creatures she has called, lost without her, howl and cry uselessly to the sunrise, and then tear away to find a new mistress or master.
He is left alone, with his dark daughter, and he remembers fully at last.
He remembers, but the wolf is still dominant within him, and when his remaining brother – the one to whom he is closest – comes from the cottage where his wife and fair daughter are lying, almost broken from the terror and pain of birth, and meets him, the silver knife flashes again, and the brother falls. He looks down at him with something close to recognition, and smiles.
Inside the cottage, his mother sleeps in a chair, her face pale with exhaustion, sorrow and the joy of new life, and he goes unnoticed to the bedroom where his wife and child lie.
When his mother wakes, there are two babies mewling and crying to be fed in a bloodstained tangle of sheets. The silver knife has done its last work.
The babies' grandmother – who must be mother and father to them now – picks them up, and sees her son's blue eyes in both tiny faces, one fair and one dark, and hears a scream of laughter and madness on the wind. Somehow now, when it is far too late, she sees and understands.
The fair child, Victoire, will be the crown and triumph of her life, a victory and a hope snatched where none seemed possible. The dark babe, Sagitta, will be an arrow to her heart, piercing her all the more deeply as she cannot help but love even as she hates her.
But she will raise both, these almost-twins, as her own, because they are hers and she can do no other.
The dark woman's revenge is complete.
A/N Sagitta means "arrow"