Author's Notes: Written for TuesdayNovember's "Time" Challenge on xoxLewrahxox's Bellatrix Lestrange: The Dark Lord's Most Faithful forum.

This fortnight's challenge is 'times of day' (or night). For this challenge, I want you to set or focus your fic at a specific time, be that either an exact hour (X o'clock) or something more vague, like afternoon. The time can be either a prominent feature, or just a subtle reference, as long as it's included.

And, to return us to our challenge roots, so to speak, the word limits are either 100 or 500 words (give or take a few.)

Also written for a_writing_muse prompt #3 – "Tattoo" – on Livejournal.

500 words.

)O(

Bellatrix stood before the Dark Lord, the Death Eaters circling them, to receive her mark. All was silent, Bellatrix still, though her heart raced with excitement, her sleeve rolled up above her elbow. The Dark Lord stood before her, his face hidden in shadow, and the Death Eaters waiting in breathless anticipation for the initiation of their first female member.

Clang!

Bellatrix's eyes snapped towards the clock tower in the distance, just in time to see the arms snap into place, straight up at midnight. Her heart skipped a beat, and she looked to the Dark Lord, elated, for he had said that midnight would be when she took the mark.

Clang…

The Dark Lord reached out and grasped her arm firmly, pulling it out straight.

Clang…

He brought his wand down to touch it, just above her wrist, and under his breath, so softly she could barely hear him – much less make out what he was saying – he began to whisper incantations.

Clang…

Bellatrix trembled as the Dark Lord's wand dragged over her arm. Her flesh seared where he touched it, black spreading slowly from the tip like ink soaking into heavy paper.

Clang…

Heat seared through her painfully, radiating out from where the wood met her skin, increasing in power until she trembled and felt sure she would burst into flame.

Clang…

The Dark Lord's voice increased slightly in volume. She could make out words now, but they were unfamiliar, in a language she did not understand, though she listened carefully for any spells or words that she knew.

Clang…

It soothed her, strangely, though it should not have. Despite the pain – or perhaps because of it – Bellatrix found herself sinking into an almost dreamlike state, a not unpleasant trance…

Clang…

She could see the outline of the Dark Mark on her skin, now, still quite pale and spindly, and her heart beat faster. There was a small part of her that, until this very moment, had been afraid this had all been some sort of trick, and that she would never get the mark…

Clang…

His wand moved in intricate patterns, staining her skin black. Though she could still feel the incredible heat around his wand, could see the way her flesh had gone scarlet from it, she felt no pain at all.

Clang…

It was almost over now, the mark darkening, details forming, the skull staring up at her with its empty sockets, the snake twisting into shape upon her skin

Clang…

He pulled his wand away, and raised Bellatrix's arm above her head, showing it to the Death Eaters who stood around them. Her skin was flushed crimson from heat, and the ink of the Dark Mark stood out proudly, shining in the moonlight, just as the twelfth toll of the clock bell sounded.

Clang!

Then there was silence.

In the aftermath of the clock's twelve strikes, Bellatrix stood by the Dark Lord's side, breathless, as the Death Eaters looked upon her, their newest member.

)O(

Fin