Chapter 10: Dirt
AN: I'm not very happy with the first scene. I reworked it a few times but I couldn't get it to feel natural. Hopefully, you shall think otherwise. I believe Bella probably had very little true love for anybody in her life, so it must be confusing for her. Which is something I'm trying to show in my story.
PS: I haven't really had much time at all these last weeks, what with the difficulties I'm experiencing at school, so this was rather quickly written, I just wanted to give y'all something to read and tell you that I'm not done with this story even if I can't write as regularly as before. :)
Bellatrix looked at the blank sheet of parchment in front of her mournfully. She had been toiling over her class curriculum for the past three hours and had still failed to produce any satisfactory results. It did nothing to help with her restlessness and growing sense of frustration. Blacks were not known to be patient.
She dipped her quill into the inkwell and suspended it over the parchment, a thoughtful look crossing her face. It took her but a few moments to slip from her studious thoughts to more entertaining daydreams and memories. Her free hand slipped up to her neck to finger the small charm now attached around it. Linked to a silver necklace hung a miniature human skull. Harry had given it to her as a present the day before, claiming the skull was one of the foundation blocks of his lair.
After a quick glance around her to make sure Harry was absent, a fond smile crossed her lips and she leaned back in her chair. He was a very thoughtful lover, too much so she sometimes thought. It was disturbing to have someone constantly trying to please you and make you happy, she wasn't sure if she enjoyed it all that much. Perhaps she would have to talk to him about it one day, or maybe it simply took some getting used too. Then there was always the niggling doubt in the back of her mind. Did he really like her, or was he after something? Her smile morphed into a frown. She wished she could just believe he held affection for her but years avoiding the plots of power-hungry death eaters had left her paranoid and bereft of trust.
She was about to return to her papers when Harry walked in, looking a little nervous. To the normal observer it would have been no more than a small twitch of the eye of flick of a finger, but she had long ago learned his body language. Her cheeks flushed as she remembered her earlier train of thought. She felt an irrational flash of anger and her question came out harsher than she had intended.
"What do you want?" She said tersely.
A flicker of irritation crossed his face and he took a step back. His green eyes hardened and his shoulders stiffened. She never ceased to confuse him with her practically bipolar attitude. Azor had never been one to withhold his thoughts.
"What is with you?" He snapped.
"Excuse me?" Bellatrix slowly rose her face from the parchment, his thick curls falling into her face. Couldn't he see she was working?
"One day you are affectionate and loving, the next you act like we're total strangers!" He threw his hands up in the air, glaring at her. "And you don't even realize it!" He had never met a woman like her and it never ceased to confuse him.
Her eyebrows shot up at his outburst and she set her quill down slowly. Whatever she had expected, it wasn't that. "So what do you want me to do, Potter?" She said with sarcasm dripping off her words. "Act like an overbearing love struck teenager like you?" The moment those words left her lips she regretted it, she saw his features tighten and his eyes start to glow. Those words must have struck a nerve.
"Is that all you consider me to be? A childlike annoyance?"
She was standing now, her own posture stiff. She had her hands on her hips and her nose held high, practically oozing superiority and arrogance.
"Give me a reason why you act like that and perhaps I'll understand." She snarled. There it was, her deepest fear in their unstable relationship and she had spit it out in a bout of frustration. Her lack of control only infuriated her all the more.
He stared at her for a few moments, his anger seemingly gone, replaced by shock and incredulity. The silence spread for almost twenty seconds and the whole room held its breath, as if waiting for the outburst that was sure to come.
Harry just laughed, throwing his head back he laughed until he had tears in his eyes. He only stopped to breath in and look at Bella, his eyes twinkling with mirth.
"What's so funny?"
"Oh Bella, don't you understand?" He sat on the desk next to her and took her hands in his. "I thought it was obvious. I like you. You're so clueless sometimes, it's cute."
"Oh." Came her simple reply before sitting down again. After a moment spent considering her small hand in his, she extricated it and returned to her work under his incredulous gaze. Well, that was one worry out of the way for her. She felt strangely soothed, as if hearing him say that had calmed her frayed nerves and erratic mood.
"Well what?" She said with a sigh.
"Do you like me?"
She stopped and looked off towards the opposite wall vaguely. Did she like Harry Potter? As strange as it might have been, she had never asked herself that question, she was an impulsive creature that followed instincts more than logic, never stopping to think. But now that she did...He was handsome and a surprisingly good lay. He had wealth and certainly had power, additionally he had no problems with her ideology and enjoyed many of the same things as her. Namely, torture, killing and sex.
She scratched her chin absently with her quill, leaving a black splotch on it.
"I guess so...Yes." She said awkwardly, unused to such discussions.
Harry just smiled and pecked her on the cheek before slipping into their bathroom, glad the situation had been defused and elated by her admission.
Molly Weasley was sobbing hysterically, clutching her eldest son in her arms like an anchor. She was dressed all in black and stood in front of a newly dug grave. At the bottom lay a simply coffin with a plaque upon it, reading 'A. Weasley'.
The burying ceremony had just ended and people were lining up to throw a handful of dirt on the coffin and pay their last respects. The whole graveyard was thick with grief and gloom, for Arthur Weasley had been a well liked man with many friends and a large family. Never had he swindled another or stolen, as poor as his family was, he had been prideful and just.
Many had come to mourn the unfortunately early passing.
On Molly Weasley's other side, Charlie was gripping his girlfriend tightly. They had met not a month ago in Romania. Despite her inability to speak English properly she got along tremendously well with the rest of the family and had become deeply attached to them. Her tears were but a drop in the ocean that day.
With a trembling hand Arthur's widow threw the first handful of dirt and slowly walked back towards the gateway, unable to stay and face her husband's grave any longer. Soon she was followed by the rest of the family as they made their way back to the Burrow. They were a close-knit family and each would watch out for the other. The death of the patriarch was a hard blow, so soon after the loss of Fred. The family would never be the same.
Albus Dumbledore watched them leave sadly, his own eyes dim and wet with tears. Bill had cussed him so thoroughly that even he, who had lived many years and learned many distasteful words, was shocked. He had blamed the aged Headmaster for dooming his father when he sent him after the Necromancer -For they all refused to call him Harry anymore- and Bellatrix Black. Deep inside, Dumbledore could not help but agree, and that just made him hurt even more.
At the back of the Weasley family group, Ron trembled with impotent rage, unaware if his tearful fiancée or sister nearby. All he could see was Harry's laughing face as he kicked his father onto the iron pole, the way his eyes crinkled with cruel amusement, the small wink he sent Bellatrix as she blew him a kiss. A hate such as he had never known coursed through him like molten fire, burning away everything but his desire for revenge. His need to kill the man who had torn his family apart.
That day Ronald Bilius Weasley made himself a promise. He would not rest until his old friend was dead, and he would achieve that by any means necessary. On that gloomy saturday he decided that until he could dance on Harry Potter's grave, the end would justify the means.
He took his wife's hand and led her into their bedroom under the ghouls lair. It was only then that the tears came. They splashed down onto his lap and his loves hair as she curled up in his lap, vainly trying to comfort the broken-hearted man. For better or for worse, he became a changed man till the day he died.
One week later
The last week had been hectic inside of the Magical boarding school. Aurors had come and gone throughout the day and night, patrols had been created and some parents had even pulled their children out of the school. For if Harry Potter could enter there, and even into the Ministers manor, where were they safe?
The Greengrass family was in an uproar, as was much of the Pureblood community. They brayed for blood and vengeance while their men stood before the Wizengamot, demanding increased security measures. The Greengrass's had set an enormous bounty upon the two criminals heads, so large was it, that bounty hunters from all over the world swarmed over Britain, eager to get their share. The Ministries addition to the price only attracted more.
For many it was a repetition of the Sirius Black situation, minus the Dementors who were now sequestered on Azkaban with a heavy Auror contingent keeping them on their best behavior. For others life continued on its usual course, uninterrupted by the chaos that seemed to fly high above their heads. Such was the case for Jacob and Venus Sternstein, better known as Bellatrix Black and Harry Potter.
While the aurors had insisted on interrogating them, none had found anything suspicious and they were left with no choice but to let them go. The iron clad testimony of Professor Sinistra, who claimed to have met them before the school year alleviated most of the suspicion that weighed down on them.
That Friday evening found them in their rooms, relaxing with a strong drink, a book and a crackling fire. A peaceful tune played in the background from the wizarding radio, but no other sound could be heard as the couple calmly perused their tomes, enjoying a moment of peace after the storm that called itself the Law.
Harry was reading a modern history book, occasionally taking notes on a sheaf of parchment. Since he had escaped prison his interest in the near past had greatly increased. No longer did he find texts recounting the great war and Voldemort's rise boring and dry. He now devoured them eagerly, happy to finally catch up on lost time. It was hard, but he enjoyed it nonetheless.
A snort of amusement from her lover brought Bella's head up from behind the massive book, an eyebrow arched curiously.
"What is it?"
"Oh, just the way they describe the last battle of the Great War." He waved his hand vaguely, a smirk on his lips. "They don't even mention me, or the death of two of their leaders."
Her arrogant scoff interrupted him before he could continue. She set her book down in her lap and crossed her arms, ignoring the way his eyes flitted down to her chest as she squeezed her breasts together. She wore but a nightie with an open robe slung over her shoulder casually.
"Did you really think they would mention it after all they did to keep your existence secret?"
He shot her with an irritated glare and turned back to his book, grinding out his words slowly.
"I am aware of that, as I was about to tell you." She ducked her head, a small grin flitting across her face. She had suspected as much but couldn't resist antagonizing him once again.
"Anyway...The best part is that they seem to forget that Dumbledore had the help of four other archwizards to kill Grindewald, actually they are very vague about the whole event."
Bellatrix burst into giggles, a wide smirk spreading across her face. She bent her head down and held it close to her book, her shoulders shaking silently.
Her head snapped up and she looked at him with feral eyes, her mouth hanging open slightly, her irises flashing between violet and green. Then it was gone and the vacant expression left her face, replaced with her usual sneer.
"Yes?" She said sweetly, smoothing her hair slowly and pushing the thick curls out of her face. She hated looking improper.
He clenched his jaw and rested his brow on the spine of a thick tome. Bellatrix had been having small incidents similar to the last one often in the last week and he was at a loss. He had no idea what was causing them or how to stop them.
It worried him.
He stopped and dropped the heavy pack onto the dirt next to him, lifting a small cloud that was just as quickly swept away by the wind. Before him lay Hogwarts in all it's beauty, lights shone from every window and reflected onto the lake, like dozens of stars.
Trees rustled nearby, the sound turned ominous in the dark night. Far away the howl of a wolf, or werewolf could be heard.
Van Helsing barely noticed any of this as he stalked up to the gate, his boots making hardly a sound on the path, worn out by centuries of students on their way to and from Hogsmeade. He lifted a finger and traced it along the ornate gate slowly until he reached the Hogwarts crest. His nose wrinkled in disgust and his hand recoiled as if burned, but it lasted but for a moment.
He slammed his fist against the gate, letting them rattle noisily as he stepped back and crossed his arms, waiting patiently. In an office far above him a small instrument buzzed noisily, awakening the snoozing headmaster.
Van Helsing smirked. His prey was getting closer, he could smell it.