The Serpents' Child


November 1981; Lestrange Manor

Rodolphus Lestrange walked through the corridors of his ancestral home, fastening the silver cufflinks into the sleeves of his black silk shirt that was tucked neatly into his signature black leather trousers. Billowing behind him were his Death Eater robes that he had forgotten to fasten, trailing after him like black smoke, weighing next to nothing on his body. Hidden in the depths of one of the pockets was his silver mask with vine designs carved into it, small vertical slits where his mouth was beneath it. On his way to collect his wife, he smiled to himself as he heard the sound that had become sweeter and more beautiful than music to his ears; the sound of his child laughing as his wife entertained them whilst he had gotten himself ready. As he had been giving the child a bath, Bella had received a missive from Barty Crouch Jr, inviting them both to go on a mission with him that evening. Bella had dressed first, then took the child from him so that he could change out of the wet clothes that he always got from giving their child a bath, and into his dry Death Eater garments.

Bellatrix had been very depressed for a couple of weeks, all due to the fall of the Dark Lord Voldemort. They had been loyal servants of His ever since His name had been a mere whisper in the wind. He truly had been a loyal servant, especially proving his worth when Bellatrix had been too pregnant to go on missions, as she had so loved to do. Becoming a father had been an eye-opener for him, making him realise that there could be someone who he loved more than his wife or be more loyal to than his Lord. The moment he had held his child in his arms, he knew that he would do anything for them. Anything.

He pushed the door open as he arranged the ends of his sleeves to be more comfortable and loose. Leaning against the wood of the doorframe, he watched with a smile as his wife helped their daughter – yes, daughter! (When all the other Death Eaters had had sons, there was instantly talk of marriage contracts, but Bellatrix quickly silenced them with the point of her wand and a glare; a Bellatrix that had only given birth an hour before was perhaps more terrifying than a normal Bellatrix) – arrange the wooden blocks with letters painted on them into short words that they were teaching her. The little girl, with light brown curls and dressed in a deep blue pyjama suit with moons sewn into it, took the block Bellatrix was offering and put it at the end of the line of blocks and then clapped and laughed loudly to herself as she correctly spelt out 'table'. Bellatrix smiled and clapped with her and then laughed as their little girl started pushing the letters apart and searching for new letters to use.

Hating to interrupt the homely scene, Rodolphus cleared his throat, making his wife look at him from her place of kneeling on the floor.

"Bella, darling? It's time to go."

Their daughter looked up as she held an 'F' block which looked huge in her tiny hands. "Where you goin', daddy?" Her speech was really coming along, but she still couldn't pronounce any 'Th's or 'L's.

His heart melted as he looked down at his beautiful girl with her big brown eyes as she stood there in the adorable pyjama set that Bellatrix's sister Narcissa – which was also the middle name of their daughter – had gifted to them, but he put on a brave face. Walking over to his girls, he got down on one knee and held her minute hand gently. "Mummy and daddy are going out with some of our friends."

"Don't I get to come?" She frowned sadly. "Was I bad?"

"No, sweetie, of course you weren't bad." Bella cooed, pulling her child into a hug and kissing the top of her head.

"Den how come-?"

"Play with your blocks, baby." Rodolphus cut across, taking Bella's hand and pulling her up. The little girl frowned at being interrupted but continued arranging the letters to spell 'fire'. He noticed that as he was pulling Bella out the room, she seemed to be hesitating. "What is it?" He questioned gently as they stopped by the door.

She kept her eyes on their little girl. "It's just…"

Rodolphus took a guess. "I thought you were looking forward to tonight…"

"I was, I am! But…"

His heart softened again. Anymore softening and it would turn into butter! "You don't want to leave her?"

She smiled sadly. "I never want to leave her." He nodded understandingly, even though he didn't. They'd left her many times before, what was so different about tonight? "I just have this horrible feeling that something might happen tonight."

He took her hand. "Bella, she's been fine when we've left her before. It's just for a few hours. Remember when we left her for the weekend?" By the time they had returned home, Bellatrix had almost killed Voldemort Himself due to desperation to get back to her baby! "It's just for a couple of hours. She'll be asleep in her room, the elves ready to kill anything that so much as looks at her…She'll be fine." He whispered reassuringly, holding Bella's hand to his heart.

It pained her but Bellatrix nodded. "Let me say goodnight to her."

He nodded. "Quickly. It's time to leave."

Bellatrix hurried over to their daughter and scooped her up into her arms, almost shedding tears when the girl laughed loudly and wrapped her arms around her mother's neck. "Alright, darling, mummy and daddy are going out now. We'll be back soon, I promise." She promised as she pressed a big wet kiss on her cheek.

"Okay, mummy." She said quietly, sad that she couldn't go out with her mummy. With a heavy heart, Bella kissed her again and put her back down on the floor. "I wuv you, mummy."

"I love you too, Hermione."