Breakfast and Wine
An awkward silence was spread among the members of the Black family this morning, at least as far Bellatrix was concerned. They were taking their breakfast in silence, all sitting at their usual seats; Cygnus at the edge of the table, with his wife and his eldest daughter at his immediate right and left, while the two younger Black daughters were seated in the middle.
Bellatrix glanced at her parents' faces every now and then, hoping to would detect some signs of suspicious behavior, perhaps brief looks exchanged between them that would signal that the conversation of last night wasn'f forgotten.
Bellatrix had hardly had any sleep; all night she had been tossing and turning in her bed, the only thought in her mind that of the Dark Lord and her father's words, that echoed in her head. Cygnus had said that perhaps the Dark Lord was interested in having Bellatrix in his ranks, that maybe he wanted her to join his followers…
The idea in itself was fascinating, and it had made Bellatrix construct some very appealing concepts in her mind about a possible future as a Deatheater; it was exciting, simply imagining it. If the Dark Lord indeed wanted her in his ranks, she would fight by his side. She would train and she would learn magic that she had not dreamt of, not even in her wildest dreams. She would be feared, she would be an independed fighter, with a purpose in life. Certainly much better of a life than being a housewife.
But, of course, there were also her mother's words. Druella had made her thoughts about a possibility of her eldest daughter becoming a Deatheater clear; Bellatrix had perfectly understood that her mother would do anything she could to make sure that her daughter would follow the path Druella wanted her to, become a respectful and obedient wife and bear a lot of children, attend tea parties and spend endless afternoons surrounded by proper women in expensive elegant dresses.
"Bellatrix, something troubles you?" Cygnus's voice broke the silence, and Bellatrix lifted her gaze to meet her father's worried one. She may be cold and arrogant towards her mother, now that she was off-age, since she would not tolerate being outspoken by anyone, but still she would not dare be rude to her father. She did not fear him, but she did respect him. Cygnus Black was a very accomplished and highly respected man; he had earned Bella's respect long ago, and she did not want him to think his daughter thought different of him.
"Why would you ask that, father?" she questioned quietly, forcing herself to a calm and collected façade, but at the same time shooting a small glare towards her mother, who was now frowning at her.
"You seem deep lost in your thoughts –you haven't spoken all morning," Cygnus commented.
"Perhaps Bellatrix thinks herself to be above such minorities, as to talk to her parents," Druella said icily, obviously having not forgotten Bellatrix's disrespectful behavior towards her the other night.
"On the contrary, mother," Bellatrix said at the same tone, but still keeping her eyes focused on her plate, "I do believe that one should not speak if they have nothing to say."
"So, my eldest daughter is not capable of starting a conversation?" Druella questioned, arching an eyebrow, and Bellatrix for a moment thought she had detected a double meaning in her words; perhaps she was also referring to her meeting with the Dark Lord the other night, and the fact that pretty much nobody had believed that he had simply showed up to her like that.
"I merely believe that I should not start on a topic that you, most definitely, would not find pleasant, pleasant, mother," Bellatrix said coolly, and, to her relief, her father immediately changed the subject before his wife could say anything else to Bellatrix.
"I had not had a chance to ask you, Andromeda," he said, addressing the young brunette who raised her gaze to meet her father's, "did you enjoy yourself last night at the feast?"
Bellatrix knew why her father was asking Andromeda in specific. Her younger sister was now at her last year at Hogwarts, and was already off age; Cygnus and Druella had started looking for the perfect pureblood husband for their daughter months ago, but Andromeda didn't seem to be interested in anyone who had shown interest in marrying her.
"Of course, father," Andromeda replied, but not at the same tone as Bellatrix had addressed their father. "It was very pleasant."
Cygnus remained silent for a couple of seconds, as if expecting Andromeda to start talking about some certain man out of all of who had attended the celebration. However, the girl didn't say anything, merely continued eating her breakfast silently.
"I saw that you were dancing with Rabastan Lestrange," Druella commented before taking a sip of her coffee, and Andromeda immediately dropped her fork and lifted her gaze once again, as if knowing what was coming next; just another of these conversations about her owing to finally find someone to get married to.
"Yes, we did dance together," she confirmed, her voice hesitant.
Cygnus smiled. It was well known that the Blacks and Lestranges greatly respected each other, and had wanted relations by marrying their children together for years; now that Bellatrix was engaged to Rodolphus, she knew her family was pleased with her.
Bellatrix knew they were expecting Andromeda and Narcissa to follow her example, but, since Narcissa was still too young to be considered for marriage, they were in a frenzy looking for a husband for Andromeda, who didn't seem so eager to get betrothed to anyone.
"I must tell you, my dear, you looked extremely beautiful together," Druella said and turned her gaze to her husband, who nodded.
"Rabastan is an excellent man, very well-mannered and educated, and very handsome…"
Straight to the point, Bellatrix thought, and tried to suppress a small smirk as she amused herself by trying to imagine Andromeda's face after these words were spoken.
"And what's with that?" Andromeda asked sharply, making her mother's eyebrows arch.
"Andromeda, we have discussed this many times in the past," Cygnus replied calmly, ignoring the looks Bellatrix and Narcissa exchanged. "You very well know I do not like bothering you, but this is a very serious matter; you should have already been betrothed to a respective, wealthy pureblood man, you will soon finish with your studies and you are already off age."
"Father, I have talked to you about my opinion on this subject," Andromeda retorted, seeming as if she was struggling to remain calm and respectful towards her parents. "I will get married whenever I feel ready to, and to whomever I feel I can spend the rest of my life with; I want to fall in love and live with someone who will love me back, I don't want to marry someone only because it is my duty!"
"Your duty to your family is what should bother you the most," Druella interfered, and this time Cygnus did not interrupt her. "It is your responsibility towards your parents to-"
"I can't marry someone simply because someone says so!" Andromeda snapped, and Bellatrix glared at her. Her younger sister had always made sure not to conform to the family rules, but always in minor ways; never before had she talked like that in the presence of their parents.
"Your parents are the ones who 'say so', Andromeda, and it is time you finally grew up and realized we are not asking you to be responsible towards your family on a whim!" Druella insisted in a firm tone.
"But you are not asking me, you are forcing me to marry against my will!"
"Andromeda," this time it was Cygnus who spoke, and his voice was calm but at the same time firm and left no room for argument. "Nobody is forcing you to marry. But you should understand that you must ensure the pureblood line will not cease, and in order to do that, you must find a husband with whom you will have children and live your life with-"
"But how am I supposed to live my life with someone I do not love?"
"Andromeda, end this nonsense right here-" Druella started, but Cygnus cut her off, seeming determined not to let the bitter conversation turn into an argument between mother and daughter.
"Nobody says that you must marry someone you do not find attractive; it is up to you to find the perfect husband, one that will care for you and treat you as you deserve to be treated, one you will appreciate and grow to love."
"Of course," Andromeda said bitterly, and glanced over at Bellatrix. "Let's take example from Bellatrix, who is marrying Lestrange just to please you! She will never love him, and I don't even know why she agreed to marry this man in first place! It is not as if she-"
"You know nothing about my marriage, Andromeda," Bellatrix said through gritted teeth, ignoring the pleading look on Narcissa's face.
"Oh, of course I don't! Like it is not about 'Toujours Pur'! Everything revolves around that for you, everything!" Andromeda snapped, and without another word, stood up and left the room.
Bellatrix also went to do the same and follow her sister, but Cygnus stopped her. "Leave her," he said firmly, and he was addressing both his daughter and wife, who now had a shocked expression across her face. "She will soon come to her right mind; there is no need to put pressure on her."
Bellatrix was greatly surprised by her father's words, since Cygnus Black was not known for being an indulgent man.
The rest of breakfast time passed by in silence, and, when Bellatrix and Narcissa stood up to leave once they were done, Cygnus spoke again.
"Bellatrix, not you, I wish to have a word with you."
Bellatrix froze and felt her heart racing. Perhaps her father wanted to speak to her about the Dark Lord? Maybe Cygnus's predictions had been proven to be true, maybe the Dark Lord indeed wanted her to join him?
"Yes, father?" she questioned, briefly glancing towards her mother, who mimicked her as she was leaving the room, going to change into something more elegant; Bellatrix knew she was going to Uncle Orion's and Aunt Walburga's house, at Grimmauld place 12, to meet with some of her friends –if that was the exact word to describe them, Bellatrix thought.
"Bellatrix, I wanted to talk to you about your sister."
Bellatrix arched an eyebrow questioningly.
"I believe you should go and talk to Andromeda," Cygnus said, and Bellatrix thought she had misheard him.
"Because, Bellatrix, I think it is quite obvious that she has to make a decision soon, she has to choose someone out of the many men that ask for her hand, if she does not want an arranged marriage."
"Father, I am not sure whether she will listen to me or simply walk away if I attempt to talk to her –after all, you know she had never liked me," Bellatrix said bitterly, but her father cut her off.
"Nonsense," Cygnus said sharply. "You are her elder sister; she ought to listen to you. Explain to her, Bellatrix, that she has a responsibility towards her family."
"She will not listen," Bellatrix insisted, and she knew it was the truth. She had never been able to have a proper conversation with her sister without ending up arguing, not even when talking about minor things, such as fashion. "Andromeda never listens to me, she doesn't even want to. These kids are a horrible influence…"
"I have heard that Andromeda has often been seen with students from Gryffindor…" Bellatrix spat the last word, feeling disgusted with what she had just said, even though she had heard that now her sister had come to her right mind and had stopped hanging out with Gryffindors.
"Oh, that. I have heard that too, but I am glad I have also been told this nonsense has finally been put to an end," Cygnus said, as if talking to himself.
"Father, believe me, we will not achieve anything if I go and talk to her about something like this. I think she will soon come to her right mind, but if I get involved with it, I'm sure she will only get even more stubborn, if that is possible."
Cygnus looked at Bellatrix, a slight frown creasing his forehead, his thin lips forming a straight line. Bellatrix knew this look well enough to immediately realize her father was troubled, and deep lost in thought.
"Yes," he spoke finally. "I believe you are right. Maybe you should not get involved in this."
Bellatrix didn't say anything, and was glad when her father switched the topic to something else.
"What are your plans for today, Bellatrix?" he asked, and, even though Bellatrix knew she did not have to answer him, since she was an adult and finally had authority over herself, she felt like she should.
"I do not know," she replied truthfully. "Perhaps I will stay home."
"Why don't you go to Rodolphus's house? You are getting married in less than a month, and you hardly spend any time with your fiancé outside of formal events."
"Perhaps I will," Bellatrix agreed, and thought that perhaps that was a good idea after all. She could go and visit her fiancé, and thus talk to him about the Dark Lord, as well. There were quite some things she wanted to have sort out.
"Rodolphus, why don't you stop being all lovey-dovey and instead pour me some more wine?" Bellatrix required as she used one hand to push Rodolphus away slightly in order to break the kiss they had been sharing for quite some long seconds.
"Alright, Miss Black, your wish is my command," Rodolphus obliged with a smirk, and stood up to grab the bottle and poured a generous amount of red wine into Bellatrix's glass.
It was past midnight, and Bellatrix had already made up her mind to spend the night in Rodolphus's manor tonight. It was the very first night she had thought of doing that, and it seemed to be quite the pleasant change in her monotone life in her parents' house; she was perfectly aware of the fact that her parents would not approve, since she was supposed to stay away from his bed until they were married, but she wouldn't bring herself to care.
True, Rodolphus also seemed to share her parents' ideals when it came to this subject, and had made clear that they would not sleep together before they were officially married, much to Bellatrix's displeasure.
She had many times attempted to seduce him and get him into bed with her, and she had almost succeeded a few times, but Rodolphus had always managed to restrain himself literally the last moment. However, this did not mean Bellatrix couldn't spend her nights in his manor; after all, soon she would be sharing it with him.
"Are you sure you will not get drunk?" Rodolphus questioned with a smirk, and Bellatrix rolled her eyes.
"What if I do get drunk?"
"Then it will be much harder for me to control you," Rodolphus answered, his smirk never leaving his face as he poured wine to himself as well and sat down on the couch next to her.
Bellatrix chuckled and took a sip of her drink. "My dear, drunk or not, you know you will never be able to control me."
"Perhaps," Rodolphus nodded, and then placed his glass on the table, and moved closer to her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
"What is this? Lestrange getting all romantic?" Bellatrix inquired, raising an eyebrow.
"You know I can't help myself when I'm with you."
"Oh, I know," she confirmed, and put her glass down, as well, before shifting in his arms and placing a chaste kiss on his lips and then quickly pulling away, smirking playfully.
Rodolphus chuckled and pulled her in for a deep kiss, his hand moving to her black ringlets, as she wrapped her hands around his neck. He was quite a good kisser, and now she definitely was in the mood for some romance.
She grinned against his mouth and then broke away, moving her lips lower, allowing them to travel across his jaw line and neck, emitting a soft moan from him.
She chuckled softly as her hands moved up to his shirt, quickly undoing the first few buttons, before her lips returned to his own.
Suddenly, he broke contact and pulled back slightly, causing Bellatrix to frown.
"Bella, you know we must wait until-"
"Oh, not that again!" she said, anger obvious in her voice. She fell back on the couch and glared at Rodolphus, who was now re-doing the buttons of his shirt. "Seriously, Rodolphus, what can possibly go wrong if we just make love?"
"Nothing will go wrong, but you know we are not married yet-"
"And what with that? It's not like none of us has had sex before!"
Rodolphus rolled his eyes. He was aware of the fact that his fiancée was not a virgin, despite her parents' efforts to make sure she would be pure at her wedding night and save herself for the man she would marry. He didn't mind though, but he had promised Cygnus that he would not do anything with her until they would have exchanged their vows and their wedding rings.
"Bella, you know I have promised your father that we will wait."
"And? He doesn't need to know," she said sharply, and bent forwards to grab her glass again a take a large sip of wine. She knew she must look like a nagging child, but she didn't care. This whole thing was getting on her nerves.
"Bella, we will wait. It's not so long after all, only a month."
"Of course; you can wait, but in the meanwhile, do not blame me if I sleep with other men because you are the good modest guy."
"Bella!" Rodolphus looked at her sharply, and Bellatrix smirked at him, before bringing the glass back to her lips.
"What?" she questioned in an innocent tone, looking at him under her eyelashes. "Just teasing you."
Rodolphus rolled his eyes and tossed his head back, as if fed up with her behavior, but then he was smiling once again.
"You," he said, before placing a small kiss at her neck, "are capable of driving a man crazy."
"Oh, I am perfectly aware of that, Lestrange," Bellatrix said and inclined her head in order to kiss him on the lips once again.
A few seconds later, he pulled away, obviously once again struggling to control himself. "Perhaps I should stop kissing these luscious lips of yours until the wedding day, or else I would very easily get manipulated…"
"That is exactly what I want," Bellatrix smirked, but she too pulled away. "I think I'll spend the night here."
"Calm down, I promise, I won't attempt to 'seduce' you, my dear," Bellatrix chuckled. "I just don't want to go home, it's rather boring there. Therefore, I shall stay here tonight. I trust you are fine with this?"
"Beyond simply pleased, beautiful. But are you sure your parents will be alright with that-" Rodolphus smiled, and before he could say another word, Bellatrix's lips were on his again.
Once they broke apart, Rodolphus arched an eyebrow. "I thought you had promised not to try to seduce me."
"Perhaps I lied," Bellatrix shrugged and sat back comfortably on the pillows of the couch. "But that wasn't really an attempt, Lestrange. You know I can do better than that."
"Oh, I know," Rodolphus sighed.
After about an hour, Bellatrix professed she was tired, and so she went to Rodolphus's bedroom. He followed her, and soon she was in a nightgown that she found in one of the wardrobes.
"I always have some women clothes as well, in case you suddenly decide to stay here," Rodolphus explained, as Bellatrix arched her eyebrows questioningly as soon as she found herself in the admittedly beautiful -and rather sexy- nightgown.
"Seems… reasonable," Bellatrix shrugged, and then watched as Rodolphus took off his clothes as well to change into his nightwear, as well.
She couldn't help but think that he was quite well-built; however, when his shirt was off his body and his skin was exposed, her eyes fell on a black tattoo on his left forearm.
"Is that… the Dark Mark?" she questioned quietly, feeling awe at looking t the Dark Lord's mark, the proof that her fiancé was indeed a follower of the most powerful wizard alive.
"It is," Rodolphus agreed, not seeming too pleased at the way Bellatrix was staring at the Mark.
"Can I see it?"
"…If you want…"
Bellatrix stepped closer, and Rodolphus extended his forearm to her, allowing her full view of the Mark. It truly was exquisite; a black skull with a snake wrapped around it, token of power and Dark Magic.
"It's beautiful…" she whispered, and Rodolphus arched an eyebrow.
"Beautiful? It is very interesting, I must admit, and unique, but beautiful? It's a skull-"
"It's magnificent… Does it hurt?"
Rodolphus took a small breath, obviously not feeling all too comfortable with talking about that with Bella.
"No…Only when he summons me… I realize he is calling when it hurts…"
"And it hurts… a lot?"
"Well… It does…"
"And how did you get it? When?"
"Half a year after I graduated from Hogwarts."
"How?" Bellatrix certainly wanted to know more about this fascinating Mark and the Dark Lord, and she hoped Rodolphus would tell her more.
"Look, Bellatrix, I don't have to tell you how I got the Mark, really now…"
Bellatrix frowned, and crossed her arms together. "You don't have to get all mad!"
"I am not getting mad, Bella, I just don't see why you should know how I got the Dark Mark!" Rodolphus said, and turned his gaze on the wall, wanting to avoid this conversation. He didn't want Bella, his fiancée, to be more interested to another man than to him, whoever this man was.
"Fine!" Bellatrix rolled her eyes, and sat down on the bed with a thump. "It really seems wonderful though… It must be amazing… Serving him… Being a Deatheater… It must be thrilling and full of-"
"Yes, it is thrilling –if you are a Deatheater." Rodolphus made sure to emphasize on the word 'if' as he too sat down beside her.
"If you are, of course…" Bellatrix agreed, and imagined herself in the presence of the Dark Lord, him telling her about important missions and plans, guiding her and training her…
"I think we should go to bed," Rodolphus's voice snapped suddenly, and Bellatrix turned her gaze to him.
"Wait, I want to talk to you first," she said firmly, finally having decided that, since he was a Deatheater, he was the most suitable person to ask about how being a Deatheater was and whether the Dark Lord really was interested in having her in his ranks or not.
A.N/ I'm sorry it's been forever to update, but here I am! I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Thanks to everyone who reads this, and many thanks to those who took the time and reviewed! :)
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