A/N: Thank you for the overwhelming response to the previous chapter, I had no idea so many people were still following it, let alone waiting on the next instalment. I had a great deal of fun writing this chapter, despite having to rewrite it at least four times! Hope you enjoy it ;) It's a big one.
I do not have a Beta so all mistakes are my own and I apologise in advance for those I've missed.
Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter and the original storyline are not mine; they belong to J.K. Rowling.
Read, review and most of all… Enjoy!
Chapter 15: A Dance with Dragons
Something lightly tapping on her nose stirred Hermione from her slumber. A dead weight was resting heavy on her chest, through sleepy eyes she saw a big orange blur. As she yawned, a soft head of hair pushed against lightly against her hand, followed by something bushy brushing against her nose. "Crookshanks… Get your bum out of my face you big orange lump." The half-Kneazle tomcat meowed in response and Hermione felt his weight shift on her, then a small rough dry tongue licking her cheek. Hermione couldn't help but giggle. "Crookshanks! Stop it!" But the cat didn't relent. "Ok ok I'm up!"
Hermione smiled and opened her eyes to see large warm orange eyes glaring back at her. "Stupid cat." She muttered as she started to scratch the cat's ears, looking around Ginny's room, her eyes came to rest on the youngest Weasley's empty bed. "Did you wake her up too Shanks? Now that's not very nice." Whether Crookshanks guessed that Hermione was playing or being serious, the cat purred regardless.
After lavishing her devoted pet with attention, she gently pushed him off and turned onto her side to check the time. "Ugh… Almost half eleven… Guess I should get up." With a sleepy groan, Hermione chucked the duvet off and started hunting for something clean and decent to wear.
Despite falling out with Ron and Harry a few days ago, she was still a guest at the Weasley household. It wasn't like she had anywhere else to go for the moment, not that Mr or Mrs Weasley would have let her leave. They knew something had happened, there was no way anyone could fail to miss the thick atmosphere, yet they didn't pry, much to Hermione's relief.
Even though Ginny had been on the outside the whole time and like the boys, didn't try to contact or see her, Hermione wasn't upset with the youngest Weasley. In fairness Hermione should have been, but she didn't have the heart to give Ginny the cold shoulder. It was clear how distraught she was over what had happened, everyone that had died, her brother, Remus, Lavender and other friends she had known. How could Hermione be mad at her? Not when she had to listen to the poor girl sob her heart out every night. The first night back, Hermione had even found herself slipping into Ginny's bed to comfort her friend, forgoing her first chance at a goodnights sleep as she gave the redhead a shoulder to cry on.
Crookshanks was another reason why Hermione didn't have any ill feelings towards Ginny. The first day at the Burrows, after her fight with the boys, Ginny had found her gathering her thoughts in a field not far from the house. And with her, she brought the tomcat, reuniting her with her loyal companion. "She looked after you didn't she? While I was away…" Hermione said softly as she knelt down to stroke the cat's back. "Can tell how fond of her you are now, the fact you chose to wake her up before me makes that all too clear." Hermione smiled, giving the tomcat a few more strokes before pulling on her shoes. 'At least her taking care of Shanks showed that she hadn't forgotten about me, unlike the boys.'
Hermione sighed; she had no idea what to do about the boys. She had barely seen or spoken to them since their fight, only doing so when she had to remain civil, but other than that she steered clear. Catching up on recent events and reading while they did whatever, to be honest she didn't know what they got up to, half the time they weren't even at the Burrow but she didn't care enough to ask. "What do you think Crookshanks? How long do you think before I will cave and forgive them?" The half-Kneazle cat sat and tilted its head to the side as it meowed. Hermione couldn't help but laugh lightly at him. "Now who does the remind me off? Wouldn't be surprised if I found out your Kneazle parent was owned by the Blacks."
'Hmm yes… Who does that remind me off now?' Before Azkaban, her answer would have automatically been Tonks. But now… Now her answer was the opposite. 'Bellatrix… Though maybe that's just because I can't get her out of my head…' Hermione thought, unsure just how she felt about that, unsure how she felt in general. On one hand she was glad to be away from the insane yet beautiful woman and on the other… She found she was somewhat missing the dark witch's company. Although what she missed she wasn't sure, given that most of it was hateful, abusive and terrifying. But those rare moments when it was otherwise, seemed to make all the bad ones trivial and those rare moments were slowly but surely becoming more common as their time together went on.
'I wonder what would have become of… Whatever it was we were… I'm not even sure… Enemies? Hmm perhaps not anymore, or at least not at the level we once were. Rivals? No, that requires some degree of equality, I doubt highly doubt she sees me as an equal even now… Friends? Does Bellatrix even know what friendship is? Hmm, perhaps… Lovers?' For a while Hermione sat on the bedroom floor contemplating about Bellatrix and the extent of her relationship with the Death Eater, though the idea she was willing to accept that she even possibly had some sort of relationship with the dark witch was scary enough.
Hermione had hoped that once she was out of Azkaban and had a proper night sleep, that whatever was the reason behind Bellatrix playing on her mind, would go. But it didn't. She thought of the dark witch more often than not, although half of the time not by choice. Hermione would see something, or hear something that linked in some way to Bellatrix, whether it was about stuff that happened during the war, about Voldemort and the Death Eaters, or about Bellatrix herself. It was enough to set her mind racing. What made matters worse was that everything she saw or heard with some connection to Bellatrix, was dark, depressing and evil. It should have renewed her hate, but she had no such luck, cause then things would have been easier. It seemed she was stuck with her conflicting interest and feelings for Bellatrix. Something she felt overwhelming guilt about and no little amount of disgust and hate for herself.
It wasn't till a rapid knock at the door, was Hermione torn away from her confusing thoughts. Standing up, she adjusted her clothes so she looked presentable before heading over and opening the door.
"Afternoon Hermione." Mr Weasley said with a warm a smile after the door opened.
"Afternoon?" Hermione repeated looking a little bewildered; she looked over her shoulder at the clock to see the time was now just turning 1PM. 'Wow… How time flies when you're having fun being torn in two by conflicting emotions…' Hermione sighed and shook her head. "Sorry Mr Weasley, I completely lost track of time."
"No need to apologise Hermione, it's understandable you'd want to catch up on sleep. Ron and Harry were the same, slept in nearly all day for their first few days back here." Hermione forced a smile at the mention of the boys but didn't say or do anything else to acknowledge them, not that Mr Weasley noticed. "Any other day and I would have left you too it, but I wanted to check if you were still on for today, as we've got to get going soon if you are."
"Today? Going?" Again Hermione repeated looking even more bewildered, she stared at him for a moment as she raked her brain trying to remember whatever it was Mr Weasley was referring too. Then it hit her, like a bludger to the stomach, not that she knew what they felt like, given her distaste for the barbaric sport. She could only guess it felt similar to the feeling she was experiencing now. "The Hogwarts fallen service! I completely forgot! Yes! I mean, of course I will still come, have I got time to finish getting ready?"
Mr Weasley nodded. "It doesn't officially start till half three, so you've still got plenty of time. We're all waiting downstairs so come when you are ready."
"Yes of course, I'll be as quick as I can." Hermione rushed out quickly, looking ashamed with herself. Mr Weasley nodded in reply and set off downstairs, closing the door Hermione rushed around in a panic, looking for a more formal outfit before heading to the bathroom. 'Today we remember those who fell at Hogwarts, and I forgot… I forgot because I was too busy thinking of Bellatrix, a woman who probably claimed a fair few of those life's… What the hell is wrong with me!' Hermione thought angrily, guiltily, never before did she hate herself as much as she did right now.
The light was almost blinding, shining bright from the glowing orb, it reflected of every surface possible and seemed to find its way into Bellatrix's eyes no matter where she looked. Bellatrix growled and gritted her teeth, hoping that her sensitive eyes which had yet again became accustomed to the darkness of Azkaban, would adjust soon. Even closing her eyes didn't help; she could still see the light seeping through her lids. Even if she could see properly, there was little to take in. The room she had been led to and left in was about as boring and bland as everything else in Azkaban. Bright white walls, floor and ceiling made up the small box room, a table with chairs either side of it, one of which she was fastened to were the only things other than the blinding orb inside.
'If I knew I'd be subjugated to the more foolish practices of wizarding therapy on top of everything else! I never would have gone along with it!' She thought with increased frustration. Bellatrix had always had a low tolerance for divination since she was a student, not because she didn't believe in such things, but because of the many different foolish areas and branches of the discipline. Wizarding therapy was one such area, filled with impractical nonsense, foolish practices and idiotic superstitions.
The blinding orb in a small bright white box room was one of those practices. It was believed by those that practiced magical therapy that such pure conditions helped relax a tormented soul, pacify dark thoughts and open doors to the mind that conventional methods wouldn't access. Though that wasn't quite the effect it was having on Bellatrix, if anything it was making her irritated to say the least and in no way were her dark thoughts being pacified. All in all Bellatrix didn't need the extra annoyances when she was already on the brink of snapping, and the reason for her bad mood was meant to making her debut at any moment. 'Andromeda…'
When Head Warden Brown told her that Andromeda was going to be her stand in therapist, she was at a loss for words. If she could have, she would have refused, loudly and violently out of habit, but she had been far too livid to talk and by the time she could scream, Mr Brown was long gone. Not that his absence stopped her screaming in fury, because she did, all night long till her throat was excruciatingly raw.
Bellatrix saw Andromeda's appointment as her therapist as a grave insult, although in truth she wasn't sure who was delivering the insult, the Ministry or her disgraced sister. Perhaps it was both. Over the course of the previous few days, Bellatrix had made it known how unhappy she was, taking it out on the guards until Mr Brown had no choice but to return. 'If you are this unhappy with Mrs Tonks coming we can cancel it, however we will not be extending this privilege again. And as you well know, no therapy means no rehabilitation program. So, shall I go tell Mrs Tonks now not to bother?' She recalled bitterly, word for word.
Bellatrix almost did, it had been on the tip of her tongue to tell him where he could stuff it, but at the last possible moment, she held her tongue. Even now she didn't honestly know what stopped her, but what Bellatrix did know is that at the moment before she was about to refuse, an image of the mudblood flashed before her eyes. And that proved enough to change her mind, though for the love of Merlin she didn't know why. The girl had no doubt put herself in an awkward situation arranging for Bellatrix's second chance; maybe part of her felt she owed it to the girl to give it a shot regardless. Or at least the reason she told herself, compared to others lurking deep within her, it was the least crazy and unsettling one.
Whatever her reason truly was, for now it didn't matter. What mattered was what she would say or how she would act to Andromeda. If she acted how she'd have normally acted, Andy would leave and Bellatrix would lose her deluded and dim hope of freedom. If however she acted civil and nice, Andy might get the wrong idea and believe Bellatrix had forgiven her, which she most certainly had not and probably never would. And yet, even that was debateable deep within. Bellatrix was all too aware that her views and feelings on matters were shifting, slowly, very slowly, but changing nonetheless. She was starting to feel and think things that she hadn't experienced for over three decades, and that was beginning to terrify Bellatrix. 'That person had been foolish, pitiful and weak! I will not go back to being that! I cannot…'
Before Bellatrixs line of thought could slip further into old and painful territory, her attention was torn away from the thick steel door opening. Under the desk her fingers clenched out of sight as the light illuminated a female figure in the doorway wearing a formal black suit. "Andromeda." Bellatrix forced out with only a slight sharp edge to her tone, which in her eyes was plenty civil.
"Bellatrix." Andromeda nodded in reply as she stepped into the room, only turning briefly to gesture to the guard that it was ok to shut the door.
Once the door was shut, Andromeda just stood by the entrance, clutching at some files, looking closely at her as if wondering if Bellatrix would try attacking her if she got too close. "Well, sit then!" Bellatrix snapped. "If you think I'm going to look up at you, you got another thing coming."
Andromeda seemed to consider her words for a second before reluctantly taking her seat. Rolling her eyes slightly, Bellatrix took in her younger sister. It had been years since she had seen her up close like this, decades even. The years had been kind to her, she was still fair and beautiful, an almost perfect reflection of Bellatrix, minus the dental hygiene. Although despite her youthful looks, her age was evident in her face and eyes, she looked tired, both physically and mentally, like she had aged rapidly over a short period. It didn't take a genius to guess what had been taking its toll on the younger witch, something that Bellatrix was partly to blame for. Much to Bellatrixs dismay, she found she wasn't taking as much joy in that fact as she would have thought.
Shaking her head, Bellatrix forced aside such thoughts before she unwillingly felt anything other than betrayal and hate for Andy. While distracted, Andromeda had already finished messing around with the files she had been carrying and was already watching Bellatrix closely. For a while the sister's sat in silence, trying to suss the other out while waiting for them to make the first move. 'If she thinks I'm starting… This off… She's going to be sorely disappointed…'
"Right…" Andy began to say as she looked down at the paperwork. "As you know these sessions are to evaluate your state of mind and whether or not you could be ready for rehabilitation at some point down the line." For a moment her sister paused as she pulled out some parchment, an inkwell and a quill before turning her attention back to Bellatrix. "So since this is our first session I will ask some basic questions then-"
"Why are you here?" Bellatrix growled out lowly as she already started to lose her patience.
"I just said-"
"No!" She snapped. "Why are you here Andromeda?"
Her sister sat back in her chair, her face impassive while she studied Bellatrix, their gazes locking for what seemed like an eternity before Andromeda answered. "Because no one else would do it." She said in plain and professional manner, before her shoulders dropped. "And because Cissy asked me if I would." Andromeda admitted with a sigh, her large dark eyes growing soft as she looked away. "And… Because I wanted to, because we're still sisters."
Bellatrix inhaled sharply. "No! We're not! And we haven't been for a very long time! Not since you chose them over our family, over me and Cissy!" She spat out darkly at the top of her voice, practically shrieking by the time she was done.
Andromeda seemed to be completely unmoved by her yelling and instead had the nerve to meet her sister's gaze without a trace of fear, guilt or shame. "Like you have done?"
Her eyes widened in surprise at her sister's remark, her hands were clutching of their own accord at the chair with all her strength until it felt like her fingers would snap under the strain. "What? You dare imply-"
"I don't need to imply anything." Her sister said sharply over the top of her, cutting her off midsentence. "The reason you are here is because of a muggleborn. Because you chose to save her, you chose her over freedom, over being back with your family."
"This isn't the same!" Bellatrix shouted as she shot forward in her chair, getting as close to in Andromeda's face as her restraints would allow her. 'She's brave… For a coward, but would she be so brave if I wasn't secured down… Hmmm, probably… Andy and Cissy are some of very few who don't fear me.' She mused, her sister not batting an eyelid at her sudden movement.
"No! I have no family to return too! You are all filthy traitors!" Bellatrix spat out in her sister's unflinching face. "You and Cissy were my family, and you both betrayed me!"
"Cissy never betrayed you, she betrayed Voldemort-" The former Death Eater hissed loudly at the mention of her late master's name. "For family. Including you." Andromeda finished, crossing her arms, to Bellatrix she looked like she had more to add but was holding back for some reason.
"The Dark Lord was our family's future! Betraying him was betraying the family!"
Andromeda unfolded her arms and slammed her hands on the table as she stood up. Her sister's abrupt action almost caused Bellatrix to flinch, almost. "How can you defend him! After what he did and let happen to her?" Andy cried out angrily, tears glistening in her eyes. 'She can't mean… Surely Cissy didn't show her too?' Bellatrix thought as she stared up, looking completely dumbfounded. It must have been written all over her face as to what Bellatrix was thinking as Andromeda slowly nodded. "Yes Bella, I know all about it, Cissy showed me too! How could you disown her like that? Turn your back on her after what happened to her? After what happened to our baby sister?!"
Then Bellatrix did something, something that she done very rarely in her life and never before to her sister, she backed down. Dropping her head, she stared at her hands as feelings of guilt and shame overwhelmed her. "I… I didn't know…" She whispered out, more to herself than to her sister. 'I didn't know what he let happen to our baby sister… I didn't know he broke another promise to me… If I did… I would have… I would have… Killed him myself! No one does that to my baby sister… Not even the Dark Lord!' She thought darkly, her former feelings of love, devotion and admiration for Voldemort were long gone, replaced by hate and bitterness, knowing that she could never get revenge, never right that wrong.
"And you know why, don't you? Because you was too obsessed with him to notice her pain! She wasn't the one who turned her back on you, you turned you're back on her!"
Bellatrix shook her head as her sister carried on yelling at her, feeling unsure how to act. She wanted to yell back, out of principle and pride, but… She was far too ashamed, because the truth of the matter was… Andromeda was right. 'I'm sorry Cissy…' She thought as she tried to mumble some sort of denial at the floor. "I would never-"
"You already have!"
Sighing deeply, she slowly nodded. "I know… It was for her own good." Forcing herself to get a grip, Bellatrix looked slowly up at her sister. "How is she?"
Whether it was her soft tone of voice or the look sincere look on Bellatrix's face, Andromeda's hostile demeanour rapidly changed when their gazes met. "She's… Coping. Things aren't easy for her and her family at the moment, as you can probably imagine." She said as she took a step back and returned to her seat. "She misses you."
Those last three words were like a dagger to Bellatrix's heart who found herself having to bite her tongue to stop the first thing that came to her. "Yeah well… I can't do much about that can I." Frowning, she leant back in her chair.
"You could have…" Andromeda said slowly, watching her closely with a calculated look, as if trying to work her older sister out. "You could have gone through with… It, got your freedom and made things alright for her. Like you have always done."
Bellatrix shook her again and broke eye contact, turning to look at the wall instead as she spoke. "No. Cissy don't need me, she hasn't done for a long time. She's not that little girl anymore."
"Are you sure about that?" Her sister asked softly, peering her head around to try catch Bellatrix's eye. "I know you were… Busy, and had no time for small chats. But that little girl is still there, you just need to scratch the surface a little."
"I did, once." Bellatrix confessed as she turned slightly to look at her sister, chewing down on her lip as she debated bringing up what she and Narcissa had talked about. Just after breaking out of Azkaban and being reunited with her sister after fourteen long years, it had been so good to see her baby sister again that she couldn't help but have a sisterly catch up. A trip down memory lane had followed, touching upon subjects they hadn't talked about in over two decades. Bellatrix smiled to herself as she remembered getting the uptight and snobby Mrs Malfoy drunk on her husband's liquor, holding her baby sister on the sofa by the fireplace and chatting about anything and everything before succumbing to the effects of intoxication. One particular subject was brought up, one that in her drunken state, she had secretly wished Andromeda had been there to share. Catching her sister's gaze again, she decided for reasons unknown to her, to partly fulfil that wish. "We talked about that time Cissy spotted that pretty daffodil."
Andromeda's face went pale, knowing full well what Bellatrix was referring to and is if by reflex, hastily touched brow. "Oh Merlin… My eyebrows were never the same again." Andromeda pouted and was about to say something when she noticed Bellatrix sniggering. "It wasn't funny Bella!" Her sister snapped, but Bellatrix wasn't paying attention, her mind was too busy thinking back to events long since passed.
31 Years Ago
"Don't wander too far girls; I want you back in a couple of hours for dinner." The raven haired woman called out to them. "Oh and Bellatrix." The girls stopped as Bellatrix looked over her shoulder. "No getting into trouble." The woman said sternly.
"Yes mother." Bellatrix said with a sigh as she rolled her eyes, before gently pulling on her two sisters arms and guiding them away into the forest. "Come; let's go find something fun to do."
Bellatrix had just finished her sixth year at Hogwarts and as an early seventeenth birthday present, one of her distant relatives, had invited her family to stay at their family home. Normally she was weary about visiting family, but this trip she had only been too happy to go on, for the simple reason that her father was far too busy to attend. 'A week without father… That has to be the best birthday present ever… Although…' Her hand slyly checked that she still had her secret package on her. 'I've still got this early present to open.'
"So, got any idea where we are going Bella?" Andromeda asked as they moved deeper into the forest.
Bellatrix turned to look at Andy as they walked, cocking her head to the side as she pondered. "Hmm… There's meant to be a lake somewhere by those mountains." Smiling she looked down at the little blonde girl walking besides her closely. "Perhaps we'll find some Merpeople for Cissy to play with; maybe they will even sing for us if I tell them to."
"Really? Can we Bella?" Narcissa squeaked out cheerfully, looking up at her sisters with her large blue eyes as Bellatrix nodded in reply. "Wish I could sing like them… Can you really speak Merpeople Bella?"
A grin spread across Bellatrix's face, trying hard not to laugh at her little sister's naivety. Andromeda must have sensed how she was about to get the giggles and gave her a little discouraging nudge in the side. Rolling her eyes, she gently reached down and toyed with her little sister's hair. "They speak Mermish Cissy. And yes, I've had a lot of practice at Hogwarts."
Together Bellatrix and her sisters walked deeper and deeper into the forest as she and Andy chatted away, while Cissy ran ahead picking the prettiest flowers she could find and generally observing everything she saw that was remotely interesting. Which being the innocent and sheltered girl Narcissa was, meant pretty much everything was interesting in her eyes once she was out of her shell so to speak. Sometimes people confused Narcissa's withdrawn persona for her being slow; even at Hogwarts she had overheard professors calling her a mentally late bloomer. It wasn't true of course, Cissy was an especially bright girl, it was just subconsciously she kept it hidden and needed a lot of coaxing out. Bellatrix in no way blamed her for the way she was, it just made her even more protective of her baby sister. 'They don't understand, if they knew what home was like… Then they'd know why Cissy is the way she is…'
In a way, she didn't want Cissy growing up, didn't want things to change between them. Narcissa idolized her every waking moment while Bellatrix loved Cissy unconditionally. She loved Andy too of course, just as much. But it was a different sort of sisterly love, Andy didn't need her like Cissy did and sometimes her and Andy were more likes rivals than sisters, sometimes even enemies when their completely different personalities clashed. However Bellatrix wouldn't change either of them for the world, she didn't know what she'd do without them and while she would never admit it even to them, she needed them, perhaps more than they needed her.
After a good half an hour walking, they finally came to their destination. Or rather heard their destination first, the sound of cascading water had been getting clearer and clearer. The trees began to thin as they approached the edge of the mountain, and soon they laid eyes on the large shimmering blue lake, sitting in the mountains shadow. Small waterfalls were flowing down the side from the deep within mountain, with a large one exiting from a wide gorge high up. 'I wonder if I could climb up to there.' Bellatrix thought as the girls looked around, there were plenty of places to rest by the lakeside, some ledges overhang where you could sit and dip your toes in the water, as well as parts where you could easily just wade in and have a swim. Opposite from where they were seemed to be a valley where the lake led into a river.
Grinning at their find, Bellatrix led her sisters to the water's edge, with finding out if there was Merpeople, being their first agenda. Which of course there wasn't, but nonetheless Bellatrix made the effort for her youngest sister. After trying, she broke the news to Cissy that the Merpeople weren't around today and to keep her from getting upset, Bellatrix told her to gather as many flowers as she could and that she'd make Cissy a crown out of them, just like Merpeople princesses wore.
"Don't wander too far Cissy!" Andromeda called out after her, frowning as Cissy headed to the edge of the forest.
"You sound like mother." Bellatrix scoffed, rising an eyebrow up at her younger sibling. "Don't be a spoilsport and just relax, let her enjoy herself. Worse thing that can happen is she gets stung by some nettles."
Andromeda's mouth twitched, looking like she had something to say, but instead she rolled her eyes and sat by Bellatrix. With Cissy happily occupied gathering more flowers, Bellatrix and Andromeda were free to sit by the water's edge, dangling their toes in the water as they chatted away. Lying back, Bellatrix felt something dig into her side. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out an oblong present wrapped in silver and green paper. "What's that?" Andromeda asked when she noticed the package in Bellatrix's hands. Bellatrix ignored her for the time being and slowly unwrapped the gift, revealing a plain black box. She stared down at the box as a lump got stuck in her throat, feeling nervous; she opened the box slowly with shaky hands. When Bellatrix saw the contents, her mouth dropped wide open. "Wow, that's beautiful." Andromeda gasped as she looked over Bellatrix's shoulder.
"It is…" Bellatrix managed to say, feeling at a loss for words as she lifted out a silver necklace. Attached to the necklace was an elegantly carved silver figurine of a bird's skull with small jet black pearls for eyes. "It's… A gift…" Bellatrix struggled to say, suddenly feeling very emotional. "An early birthday present from Dru…"
Andromeda awkwardly reached out and placed a hand gently on her arm, squeezing gently as Bellatrix fought back her tears. "She knows just what you like, here, let me." Bellatrix glared at her sister, not being sure how to react to her sister's gesture. After a few seconds, Bellatrix swallowed her pride and smiled as she slowly dropped the necklace into Andy's outstretched hand, before then lifting her hair away from the back of her neck. Reaching round Bellatrix's neck, her sister carefully put on the necklace for her. "There you go sis." Andromeda smiled warmly, sitting back up straight. "It suits you."
"Thank you… Sis." Bellatrix whispered quietly with teary eyes, looking down at the pendant as she gently rolled it about between her fingers. After allowing herself a few moments to think on Dru while looking at her gift, she wiped her eyes and sat up. "Mother won't notice, it blends in well with what I usually wear. But if she does, I'll just say we picked it up at a local shop." She said plainly, refusing to meet Andromeda's gaze as she stared out across the lake.
For a while they sat in silence as Bellatrix pondered over her predicament and for once Andromeda didn't pry. Instead she left her in peace and took over making Cissy's flowery crown when Cissy returned with more flowers. 'This will be our last summer together.' She thought grimly as she watched her two sisters out of the corner of her eyes. 'This time next year… I'll be a Lestrange. No doubt once I lose the Black family name, father will do everything in his power to keep me from my sisters…' Feelings of bitterness and raw hatred rose up inside Bellatrix, her fists clenched tightly at her sides till pain rippled through her palms. 'Just let him try, him and my… Soon to be husband. Nothing will stop me, and I'll have the last laugh, just they wait…'
Small hands and large blue eyes snapped her away from her thoughts as Cissy sat on my lap and hugged her. "Bella? You ok? You look upset…" Narcissa said while looking confused, Andromeda was also watching her closely, with a look of understanding in her eyes.
"I'm ok, just bored." Bellatrix said with a forced yawn before attacking Cissy, tickling her sides and making the blonde girl giggle hysterically. 'Until the time is right… I'll just have to make the most of this.' Letting go of Cissy, Bellatrix looked back up to the side of the mountain. "Wait here a moment, I want to check something."
Passing Narcissa over to her other sister, Bellatrix slipped her boots back on and took a short stroll along the lakeside towards the mountain. When she couldn't get any closer on land, she jumped off the ledge and into the warm lake where she swam over to where the large waterfall hit the water. Taking a deep breath, Bellatrix dived under, swimming straight down and touching the bottom before ascending and heading back over to the shore. "Andy, Cissy, come over here." Bellatrix shouted as she climbed out of the lake soaking wet, shaking her head and moving the wet strands that clang to her face. 'This will be fun.' She thought and smiled mischievously as her sisters caught up to her. "We're going on a little… Adventure." Bellatrix said innocently as she took Cissy's hand.
Andromeda looked at her suspiciously, before her gaze shifted to where Bellatrix had dived down, then up high and froze. "No." She said flatly. "We are not doing that."
Cocking her head to the side, Bellatrix smiled sweetly at Andromeda. "Not doing what my dear sister?"
"You know what." Andy said disapproving, shaking her head. "Jumping from up there." She added as she pointed up at the large cave where the waterfall was emerging from.
"I was thinking no such thing!" Bellatrix lied, biting the inside of her mouth to stop herself grinning. "But now you mention it… That's a great idea! Don't you think Cissy?"
Much to Andromeda's apparent dismay, Narcissa nodded cheerfully. "What?! No!"
"But… It was your idea Andy." Narcissa stated, looking up at the second born Black sister with large pleading eyes while Bellatrix tried hard not to laugh.
"No it wasn't! It's Bella's, she made me say it out loud!"
"I have no idea what you mean Andy." Bellatrix feigned innocence as she looked down at Cissy. "As if… I could be so manipulative. You can't change your mind now after getting Cissy excited, come." And so with a sulking Andromeda in tow, Bellatrix led her two sisters up into the mountain.
The mountain itself was by no means impassable, plenty of crevices, gorges and large caves riddled the natural formation and no doubt many of the paths would lead right through to where they wanted. However despite that, their journey proved just as difficult as it would have been if they had to climb up the outside, perhaps even more so as they soon found themselves going round in circles. It didn't help that they to rely on natural light, being underage they weren't allowed to use magic to light the way and thus unable to venture deeper into the mountain. 'Least it's spacious in here…' Bellatrix thought with a sigh as they came to a stop in another large cavern.
"I think we've been here…" Andromeda said with a sigh, sitting down on a large rock to catch her breath.
'We have…' Bellatrix admitted to herself, but kept quiet as she looked around. "There are plenty of caves we haven't taken yet." She said as she perched herself next to her sisters. Cissy looked worn out, even though all the system of caves were large and easy to pass through, all the walking had started to take its toll on the youngest sibling.
Andy sighed and shook her head. "Perhaps we should give up for today… We need to be getting back soon anyway. We can always try again tomorrow."
"No. You can hear the waterfall, we're so close… Just need to find the right path." Bellatrix frowned and kicked at the floor stubbornly.
Before Andromeda could argue, Cissy had perked up having noticed something. "Hey look at that?" She asked, pointing towards the darkness further towards the back of the cavern. Bellatrix looked down towards where Cissy was pointing and spotted what her youngest sister had seen. It was a flower, glowing in the darkness. "It's pretty."
Bellatrix looked down at Cissy and smiled as she got to her feet. "Wait Bella." Andromeda warned. "It's too dark."
"It's just there!" Bellatrix replied with a huff. "What could possibly go wrong? If we can't find the waterfall, least I can do is get Cissy a stupid flower." Feeling annoyed and frustrated, Bellatrix ventured further into the cavern where light quickly stopped illuminating her way, forcing her to take it slowly.
Once she reached the flower, she reached down and gently plucked it from the ground. 'Now this ought to put a big smile on Cissy's face.' Bellatrix thought with a smile, the silvery blue glowing flower turned out to be a magical version of a daffodil. Feeling pleased with herself, Bellatrix headed back to her sisters. "Here you go Cissy." She said as she knelt down and tucked the flower behind Cissy's ear. "You look beautiful." Leaning close she kissed an ecstatic Narcissa on the forehead before standing up and looking at Andy. "Let's head back then." Her sister smiled at her and nodded just as a loud rumble followed. "Hungry are you?" Bellatrix asked with a smirk.
"Hey, that wasn't me!" Andromeda protested, much to the amusement of her sisters. That was until the rumble came again, louder than before. The three sisters looked towards the darkness, where the sound seemed to be coming from. "Erm… Bella? What's that?"
"I'm not sure…" She admitted taking a couple steps forward, her gaze fixed on the darkness ahead. As they looked on, more sounds followed and while it was hard to make out preciously what they were over the sound of distant rushing water, it was clear they were getting closer.
"Maybe… Maybe we should leave now…" Andy muttered, her tone filled with concern and worry.
Under other circumstances, Bellatrix might have teased and mocked Andromeda for being afraid, and whilst not being afraid herself, Bellatrix didn't like what she was hearing. What she saw next she liked even less, a pair of large dim amber eyes getting bigger as they grew closer. Her own eyes widened as she realised what it was, stepping back slowly as she pulled out her wand. "Get ready to run with Cissy… I'll handle this." Looking at Andromeda, she mouthed one word, dragon.
Andromeda went pale and grabbed a hold of Cissy, before moving forward and pulling Bellatrix back. "You may be the best in your year, but you can't take it alone!" Andromeda pleaded, pulling on her some more. "Please Bella… We need you with us."
Bellatrix gritted her teeth as she looked back and forth between her sisters and the looming dragon. As much as it pained her to admit it, Andromeda was right… She might be able to slow it down but defeat it? Maybe… But she wasn't sure, and Bellatrix needed to be sure if she was to let her sister's out of her sight. 'If I can't… Then it will go after Andy and Cissy next, and Andy can't fight it and protect Cissy at the same time… Shit…' Pocketing her wand begrudgingly, she backed towards the entrance with her sisters, grabbing a hold of Narcissa too. Then it came, a loud growling sound, a waft of hot air, the onset of something fiery. "Run!" Bellatrix shouted dragging her sisters back the way they came as flames narrowly missed them.
A loud roar echoed throughout the cave as Bellatrix ran with her sisters, keeping a tight hold of a screaming Cissy as they weaved through the open passageways. She could hear the dragon thundering its way after them; and it became clear to her that the large system of caves was in fact a lair, its lair. Which Bellatrix unfortunately knew meant two things, one, the caves were more than big enough for the dragon to move around and follow them, and two, it knew it's way around better than they did.
'Shit… Which way was it?' Bellatrix considered hastily as they came out into one of the caverns they passed through earlier. Her two younger sisters looked at her, fearful, relying on their big sister to know the way. 'No time to think, going to have to pick one and hope…' She hurried her sisters across to the path she had picked. Just behind them the dragon had caught up and emerged into the carven, its large dark brown horned head reared up as it roared and spewed flames. 'There's no way we can out run it, especially if we do find the way out…' She thought grimly as she led them, knowing that finding the way out could leave them in a much worse of position if the dragon decided to pursue them outside of its lair.
But there was nothing else she could do; the sickening feeling of helplessness filled the pit of her stomach as she blindly navigated the tunnels. Running wasn't something Bellatrix did, but as much as she wanted to fight, she couldn't protect her sisters at the same time; if the tunnels had been smaller she would have considered caving one in with magic to slow the dragon down. But they weren't, trying to cave one in would have taken too much time, time they didn't have.
Instead of directly heading for where she believed the way out was, she had them taking every turning they could, aiming for the smaller passages in the hope off losing the dragon, or at the very least, buying them a head start once outside. After a while it seemed to work, the sounds of the ferocious beast grew more distant until they faded altogether.
"I can't hear it anymore… Do you think we lost?" Andy asked as the three girls stopped running to catch their breath, Cissy was silently sobbing her heart out as Bellatrix's held her close, trying to reassure her with gentle gestures.
"I don't know… Maybe. We can't stop though, have to keep moving." Bellatrix said sternly with a frown. She knew Cissy was in no state to keep on running, but Bellatrix dared not risk them taking a break in case they were found. "Come, it will be getting dark soon." Andromeda silently agreed as she nodded and took the lead. As they approached the next cavern, the hairs on the beck of Bellatrix's neck began to stand on end; the air was suddenly hot and humid. 'Something's not right…' She thought as she looked around, a head of Andromeda, her eyes caught the faintest glimmer of an orangey light. "Andy wait!" Bellatrix shouted as she shot forward, grabbing Andromeda's arm just before she stepped into the cavern.
Flames rushed forward, engulfing the area Andromeda was just about to step into. Searing heat brushed against their faces as Bellatrix pulled her sister back with such force that they both fell back and hit the floor hard. Andy hissed in pain and fearing for her sister, Bellatrix pulled her over to get a good look. "Andy! Are you ok?" Bellatrix asked worriedly.
"I'm fine… It just missed me… Thanks Bella… You saved-" Andromeda frowned as Bellatrix tried hard not to laugh. "What?! This isn't funny!" Andy snapped, completely unaware at what Bellatrix found so amusing. Stifling the urge to laugh, Bellatrix jumped to her feet and helped Andy helped, who hissed again in pain. "I think my ankle's twisted…" Her sister whispered out as she grimaced in pain, struggling to stand. 'Shit… Now we definitely can't outrun it…'
Taking her sister's arm around her neck, she hurried them back as fast as Andromeda could manage, back the way they came, all of them fully aware the dragon was but a turning away from them. 'We need to lie low somewhere…' Looking around, Bellatrix spotted a slim vertical crevice in the side of the cave with light slipping through the cracks. "There!" She said sharply, pointing towards to the small gap. "In Cissy, and be careful!" Bellatrix ordered as they got to the wall. Doing as she was told, Cissy slipped in easily being the smallest. Next was Andromeda's turn, which proved to be a tighter squeeze but managed to slip inside also.
By now the dragon had caught up, it spotted Bellatrix by the wall and readied another fiery breath. Running out of time, Bellatrix squeezed through the gap hastily, cutting herself on the rocks as she forced her way in, only just avoiding being barbequed. "Get back! Towards the light!" Bellatrix shouted at her two sisters, pushing them down the cramped tunnel towards where the light was coming from. "No…" She muttered as they came to a small dead end cave, its exit blocked by a cave in. Bellatrix clambered up the rocks, trying the gaps in the wall where the light was coming through, but they proved only large enough to squeeze a hand through. And try as she might, she couldn't shift the larger rocks to make the gaps wider.
'We're trapped…' She thought angrily as she kicked at the makeshift wall of rocks. Reaching into her pocket she pulled her wand and got ready to clear the rubble. "Bella no!" Andy shouted, coming up behind her and snatching the wand out of her hand. "You're not allowed! You're still underage!"
"Do you really think I care about what the Ministry thinks?" Bellatrix snapped, growling lowly at her sister, daring her to challenge her again. "Give me back my wand! Anyway underage magic is allowed to save our lives, so give it!"
"It's not the Ministry I'm worried about." Andromeda said, taking a step back and winching as pain shot through her ankle. "It's father! You know what happened last time you… Embarrassed the family name…"
Bellatrix winched involuntarily, remembering all too clearly what had happened. "I know but I don't care… What happens to me!" Bellatrix yelled so she could be heard over the roaring of the dragon in the previous cavern. "I can't just let you both be trapped here just because of what father will do!"
"You might not, but we do!" Andromeda snapped back, moving closer this time to Bellatrix and looking deep into her eyes as she hissed. "Do you think me and Cissy want to have to… Hear that again?"
"Please Bella…" Behind Andy, Bellatrix heard the tearful whimper of her baby sister. "Not again… I don't want daddy making you scream more…"
Glaring hard at Andromeda, Bellatrix pushed past her and went over to Narcissa, kneeling down in front of her. "Hey… Come now Cissy, don't cry." She said softly, wiping the blonde girl's tears away gently. "It's ok, I'll find another way." Bellatrix found herself promising in an attempt to reassure the youngest sister, rubbing her sister's arm softly she looked at Andy who had taken a seat on the rocks by Cissy. "We'll have to stay here till the morning; hopefully by then the dragon will have grown bored and left."
Feeling a bit better, Cissy smiled and hugged Bellatrix before she too looked at their other sibling. "Andy?" Cissy asked looking confused. "What happened to your eyebrows?"
"What?" Andromeda replied looking equally confused, much to Bellatrix's rising amusement before then touching her brow and feeling, or rather not feeling her eyebrows, not completely. "Oh no! What will Ted say?!" Unable to help herself any longer, Bellatrix started laughing loudly and continued to do so as Andy hit her arm repeatedly. "It's not funny Bella!"
Hours had passed and the sun had long since set, faint moonlight was pouring through the collapsed exit. A small campfire was burning away that Bellatrix had managed to get started out of roots from the cave walls and bits of old dry wood found among the caved in exit. It had been awhile since the dragon's scratching and roaring had stopped, which had suggested to Bellatrix that it had given up. But it was far too dark to head back now, that and Cissy was fast asleep, her small blonde head was resting peacefully on Bellatrix's lap.
Andromeda was sitting on the other side of the cave, adding the last of the wood to the flames and rubbing her hands together. "Where did you learn to do this by the way?" She asked quietly, breaking the hour long silence.
Looking up from their sleeping sister, Bellatrix laid eyes on the fire. "Dru taught me; her parents take her muggle camping sometimes during the holidays." Bellatrix couldn't help but smile as she answered, remembering the night Dru had taught her in the forbidden forest.
"Handy. It's amazing what muggles come up with in the place of magic." Her sister said with a smile, shivering slightly as she rubbed her arms.
"What are you doing?" Bellatrix finally asked with a sigh.
Her sister looked at her confused, before looking around and then to her hands. "Erm? Trying to keep warm? I would have thought that was obvious."
Bellatrix pulled a childish face and stuck her tongue out at her sister's remark before rolling her eyes. "So why are you over there then?" She asked in a hurried inpatient tone of voice. "Get over here."
But Andromeda didn't move, instead she stared at her big sister, looking surprised and slightly distrustful; as if she thought Bellatrix was having her on. "I thought…" She began to say quietly as Narcissa turned slightly in her sleep, before stopping herself and looking hesitant as she looked hard at the flames.
Bellatrix watched and waited for a reply as she softly stroked Narcissa's blonde hair, but when one didn't come. She cocked her head to the side and pondered what was going through her sister's mind; Andy had been cagey all night since their fight earlier, keeping her distance from Bellatrix and avoiding her gaze. 'She thinks I don't care…' She realised, feeling slightly wounded that her sister would believe that. "You thought what? That because we fight and argue all the time that I don't care?" Bellatrix said in a low tone, sounding unintentionally harsh. For a moment, it didn't seem like Andy was going to acknowledge her, until she dipped her head a tad. "Then you're an idiot." Bellatrix snapped out in haste before she could stop herself.
Mentally chastising herself, Bellatrix took a deep breath. "Come here." She said softly, moving Narcissa a little and shuffling against the wall to make a space for her sister. Andromeda still looked suspicious but this time didn't question Bellatrix's request and silently came over, taking a seat by Bellatrix whilst still leaving a gap. Biting her tongue to stop herself making an irritated comment, Bellatrix reached an arm around Andromeda and pulled her close, her head coming to rest on her chest. "Don't ever think that… You, Cissy, and Dru… You mean the world to me… And I love you all dearly… I don't know I'd do if I ever lost either one of you…" Bellatrix confessed, reassuring a shaky Andromeda. Who judging from the wet drops hitting Bellatrix's hand, seemed to by silently weeping. She had just been about to ask what was wrong when Andy hugged her tight and smiled as she looked up for a second. "Now get some sleep." Bellatrix partially ordered, smiling back, feeling a little teary eyed herself as she leant her head back against the wall.
When Andromeda didn't reply, Bellatrix assumed her sister had taken her at word. Yawning as she closed her eyes, Bellatrix was about to try get some sleep herself when Andy whispered her name. "Bella?"
"Hmm?" She mumbled out sleepily.
"What are we going to do?"
"I told you, we'll wait till morning-"
"No I mean… About Dru and Ted?" Andromeda interrupted, shaking her head against Bellatrixs chest. "We can't keep it a secret forever…"
"I know…" She answered, resisting the urge to sigh, knowing that Andromeda wasn't going to sleep without a little extra reassurance. "Just… Be patient and leave it to me, we can't do anything about it till after Cissy graduates from Hogwarts."
"But… That's years away…" By now Andromeda had pulled away from Bellatrix and was sitting up, looking deep into her eyes with a desperate look. "We'll be married by then… You… Next year… And me…"
Bellatrix wasn't sure what to say to her little sister, there wasn't much she could say and none of it would put Andromeda at ease. Her sister was a sensitive soul and already head over heels for Ted, Bellatrix knew she didn't have the stomach or the heart to go through with it, but they didn't have a choice at the moment. Frowning and pursing her lips tight, Bellatrix reached out and softly grabbed Andy's shoulder. "Don't worry about it; Rabastan is only a year older than Cissy… You'll only been with him a year before Cissy is free."
"Whether it's a week, a year or a decade! It makes no difference!" Andromeda snapped, only to be shushed by Bellatrix who silently gestured to their baby sister sleeping peacefully. "I can't marry him, not when I love Ted." She added more quietly this time, her soft dark eyes brimming with tears. "How can you be so indifferent about it? About marrying Rodolphus? When we both know how much you love Dru."
'Indifferent? Oh little sister, I'm far from indifferent about it… But I must do what's needed to ensure yours and Cissy's future…' Bellatrix thought as she stared into the flames, she couldn't tell her sisters that though, they already guilt tripped her enough and emotionally blackmailed her. If they knew she was only marrying Rodolphus for them, despite how heart breaking she found it… "Because we have no choice." Bellatrix retorted coldly, pushing her own thoughts and feelings aside as she slowly raised her hand to wipe away Andy's tears. "I can't delay my wedding for four years… But I'll do what I can about yours."
Her words were meant to try reassure her sister, but instead Andromeda went as white as a ghost. "No… Father almost killed you causing a scene at my betrothal… I don't want to imagine what he'd do if you tried to stop the wedding…"
"He won't kill me… He won't… Risk his arrangement with the Lestranges." Bellatrix spat out sourly, referring to herself in the same way her father did, as a piece of meat to trade, a possession not a person. "Anything less than killing me, he's done before… It's no big deal." And as if to show much she thought of the matter, she shrugged and yawned. "Unless you have a better idea?"
Andromeda nodded and moved closer to her, whispering in Bellatrix's ear as if she was still afraid their parents would somehow still hear. "I've said it before, we could run away from home."
"We've been over this… We're going to, but we need to wait for Cissy to turn 17 first." Bellatrix said as she stifled another yawn. "But not before then, I'm not leaving Cissy alone with our father."
"But… When we are married… We'll have to live with our… Our Husbands anyway. Cissy will be alone… So what's the difference?"
"The difference is abandoning Cissy or being forced apart. I will not abandon her to him." She replied sternly, giving Andromeda a serious glare. "What do you think father would do? Knowing two of his three daughters had run off with muggleborns?"
For a moment her sister was silent as she thought about it, before shaking her head vigorously. "So we run! All three of us right now!"
"What? Three underage witches with no home and no money? Not to mention both you and Cissy are under 16." Bellatrix countered as she looked at Andromeda in dismay, usually she was the level headed one and was the one that would point out when ideas, plans, suggestions would break rules or laws, or oppose ideas that were ridiculous. And yet here she was proposing the exact opposite. 'She must be more worried about this than I originally thought… Going to need to keep a close eye on her, to make sure she's ok.' Placing both hands on Andromeda's shoulders, she gently pushed her back at arm's length; she looked deep into her sister's eyes and tried to look as understanding and reasonable as she could. "I could run with Dru right now, but if you two came with me, the Ministry would drag you back to father… No. We wait. We wait until we're not legally bound to our parents, till were not underage and have access to our family's wealth. With it, we could build a good life for all of us, and there will be nothing our father can do… It's a long wait I know, but it will be worth it Andy… I promise."
"I… Sorry… You're right, it's just..." Biting her lip, Andromeda stopped herself and looked down at the floor as she tried to stop further tears.
Gently, Bellatrix slipped her hands down and around Andromeda, and then pulled her back close against her. "Hard… I know… Like I said, just leave it to me, I'll take good care of us, I always do." Bellatrix gave Andy a kiss on the forehead then made herself comfy. "Now go to sleep."
"Ok… Night Bella, love you." Her sister muttered out sleepily as she used Bellatrix's chest as a makeshift pillow and fell silent.
"Love you too sis." Bellatrix whispered, before she closed her own eyes, she looked down at the silver pendant dangling above her bosom. 'Love you Dru.' She thought with a smile as sleep overcame her, it had been a long day and tomorrow she'd have to face the fury of their mother once they returned.
Snapping out of her daze, Bellatrix sighed. "My arse was sore for days, I never knew our dear mother could hit so hard." Bellatrix muttered, pouting slightly. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Andromeda trying hard not to laugh. "What's funny!" She snapped. "Oh right my sore arse is funny but your singed eyebrows isn't?!" Bellatrix glared at her younger sister, her mouth twitching as she fought her own urge to laugh. But for some peculiar reason, she just couldn't help it and slowly, Bellatrix began to laugh light-heartedly along with her disowned sister.
For a moment Bellatrix forgot all the ill feelings she held for her sister, and just for a split second, she was taken back to how it all used to be, before all the heartbreaks and betrayals. "You shouldn't have taken all the blame." Andromeda said when they stopped laughing.
"It was my job as yours and Cissy's big sister." Bellatrix replied with a shrug. "Besides… Cissy was terrified mother was going to tell father. Didn't want her thinking she was going to get into trouble too."
"But she didn't. Mother I mean, she never did tell father." Her sister looked at her carefully, giving her a little smile. "I know you believed mother never cared for you, but she did. In her own way, if she didn't she would have told father."
"Maybe…" Bellatrix admitted with a sigh, before her face grew hard. "But whatever she felt for me all changed the day our beloved father died. She felt nothing but hate for me."
Andromeda dropped her gaze, her face as emotionless as Bellatrix's words. If the sisters shared one thing in common still, it was how they felt about their long departed father, something neither of them had ever shed a tear over. "You can't blame her. For whatever reason, she loved him, despite the monster he was."
"She was nothing but a weak fool." Bellatrix spat out darkly. "Who happily stood by and let father do the things he did, she didn't care what happened as long as she got an easy life." To that, Andromeda had no reply. Even she couldn't deny the fact that their mother allowed her father to get away with everything that happened, not once did she ever defend them. "Going to his funeral was one of the happiest moments in my life…" Bellatrix said sadistically before looking curiously at the black outfit Andromeda was wearing. "Come to think of it, the only time I've ever seen you wear black was at father's funeral. Was that Cissy's idea? Wear black and subtly remind me our father is dead so I'd direct all my hate at him instead of you?" She asked, not knowing entirely for sure if she was kidding or not.
Andromeda's warm smile dropped from her face, her soft eyes grew hard. "No. I've got a service to attend later at Hogwarts." She said quietly, refusing to meet Bellatrix's gaze.
And just like that, as if a switch was flipped inside her. Reality hit home as Bellatrix snapped out of her fleeting return to the person she once was from a time long since gone. Darkness descended on her face as she sat up straight and rigid, her lip curling up into a snarl, feeling absolutely furious with herself. "I see. Haven't you got some questions you were meant to be asking? Quit wasting my time!" Bellatrix snapped coldly.
"Very well." Her sister replied as the slightest flicker of sadness passed over her. Looking down at the paperwork before her, Andromeda began to read out some of the questions and continued to do so for the next half hour.
Bellatrix answered quickly, sharply and coldly for the most part, the other times she ignored the questions completely and answered with a cold hard glare. 'How could I be so weak?! I knew… I knew she'd somehow worm her way in!' She wanted to blame Andy, and for the best part she did. But she knew deep down that her opening up at been all her choice, that she allowed herself to freely think back to that time. 'They've always had that effect on me! No matter how strong I am, I always find myself leaving my defences wide open for them!' Deep within her, old feelings of betrayal, heartbreak and loss stirred having being awoken by her trip down memory lane.
"Right, I think that's everything for today." Andromeda said shortly while stacking the papers.
"Good, don't let me keep you." Bellatrix yawned and clucked her tongue impatiently, eager for Andromeda to leave.
Sensing she was being dismissed, Andromeda sighed and got to her feet, putting away all her stuff into a bag. "So, do you want me coming back? Or is this to be the only session?"
"I'll have to check my diary before I let you know." Bellatrix replied sarcastically, ignoring the looks she was getting as she began to fidget, pretending her sister was no longer there. She listened to her sister head towards the door, not bothering to look up, not even when she spoke again. "Oh and don't think for one instance that you're forgiven. It will take far more than a little slip up for me to even consider that!"
To her surprise, Andromeda laughed, coldly. "Oh there's that famous ego! What makes you think I'm ready to forgive you? Or have you forgotten how many times you tried to kill my daughter?" Her sister snapped with a deadly tone that Bellatrix never thought she'd hear from her sister's lips, forcing the eldest Black sister to look up in somewhat of a shock. "Good bye, Mrs Lestrange."
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the latest instalment ^^ I know I did! In case of confusion, the flashback wasn't being shared/spoken out loud to Andromeda, it was purely Bellatrix's memory apart from the comments she shared with Andy before and after. Feel free to PM me any questions and if I can I'll answer :).
Thank you for reading :) I'll update soon! x