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Dear Narcissa: Harry Potter Fic

Author: bitterfig
Title: Dear Narcissa
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Bellatrix/Narcissa (Bellatrix/Andromeda implied)
Summary: The tangled skein of love and hate among the sisters Black.
Beta Reader: bookworm_2005
Word Count: 3400
Rating: R
Warnings: Adult themes, angst, incest, murder.
Author’s Note: Written for fem_exchange for sporadic__.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any illegal acts taking place within that fiction are NOT condoned by the author. Depictions of any questionable, illegal, or potentially illegal activity in said fiction does not mean that I condone, promote, support, participate in, or approve of said activity. I grasp the distinction between fiction and reality and trust that readers will do the same. I do not profit from the fan fiction I write, and all rights to the characters remain firmly in the hands of their creator.



Dear Narcissa


Dear Narcissa,

Sister.

As you must know, I have lost a great deal in the recent conflict. Me and mine were on the side of the angels, but still my husband is dead. My child is dead. You allied yourself to everything that was evil, cruel and unjust in hopes of personal gain yet your husband lives, as does your son. You’ve even been pardoned for your considerable crimes—harboring fugitives, murderers and torturers, keeping a little girl and an old man locked up in your cellar, consorting with devils. You seem to have come through the fire unscathed.

For this, I ought to hate you but I find I cannot.

Because you are the only one I would dare tell this too, the only one I can hope would understand.

I have lost not just my husband, not just my daughter, but also my sister.

My vicious, sadistic, murderous bitch of a sister.

She was the one who killed Dora, killed my little girl. Willfully and with great delight, I am told. And yet I’ve cried for her, yet I mourn for her.

I loved her once. I don’t think I ever stopped loving you.

She was our sister, Narcissa. When did she become a monster? When did she become a dark shadow over our lives?

In answer to your questions, I will come to her funeral. I hope that Dora can forgive me.

Love, despite everything

Andromeda

*****

The memorial service for Bellatrix Black Lestrange was a modest affair. It was held in a small, out of the way chapel, a strange, dark little place lit by floating candles and two stained glass windows. One was of the Virgin Mary, arms outstretched as if to welcome all the lost souls. Facing her was the image of a pale, dark haired woman in a white dress with a flame in her hands and a pair of snakes coiled around her arms.

Few people came, only the ones who had loved Bellatrix with a love beyond reason and also survived. Narcissa. Andromeda. Rodolphus Lestrange. Bella’s sisters wore black. Her widower wore chains. He was led into the high, narrow chapel by a cluster of guards. He stood in their midst, haughty but haggard, red-eyed and in ragged clothes.

Narsicca brushed past the guards as if they were of no consequence, walked right up to her brother-in-law.

“What is this?” She demanded, indicating his bandaged arm.

“Someone got a hold of him,” one of the guards explained. “Scourged away the Dark Mark.”

“It was my understanding that prisoners were to be treated humanely,” Narcissa said with great disdain. “See that it doesn’t happen again.”

“No danger of that, they took it all off they did.”

Narcissa cast a look of utter contempt at the man then addressed Rodolphus.

“Lucius is doing everything he can for you,” she told him.

“Tell Lucius to save himself the trouble,” Rodolphus snarled. “I’ve asked them for the Kiss. I’d rather die than live in a world where mudbloods and house elves are seen as my equals. Unlike you and your husband, some of us wish to retain a semblance of dignity.”

“Very well than,” Narcissa said coldly. “I leave you your dignity.” She turned to the flowers she had sent, belladonna and deep purple iris, Bellatrix’s favorites.

“Bella would have ripped your heart out for what you did.” Rodolphus continued. “Betraying the Dark Lord for the sake of your brat.”

“I was never a Death Eater,” Narcissa said. “I bear no mark. I made no pledge to Voldemort. My loyalties lay only with my family. Bella knew that. She benefited from it often enough.”

“She died because of what you did.”

“And I have come to mourn her.”

When they were young, the Black sisters in their best dresses had sat within the candlelit chapel each Sunday but it had been years ago, as one by one they had stopped attending. The pastor who conducted the memorial service had never known Bellatrix Lestrange and was clearly uncomfortable presiding over the last rites of the notorious Death Eater. He seemed genuinely horrified as he read the scripture Rodolphus had chosen, Luke 19:17: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Because you have been faithful in a little thing you shall have authority over ten cities.”

Narcissa and Andromeda sat side by side but stiffly apart from each other, careful to keep a distance between them. Their faces were set, without emotion. They did not bend, or break. Rodolphus did. As the service progressed he began to weep, quietly at first then openly and without restraint.

As the final prayer was being given, he broke away from his guards and threw himself at the women and violently embraced them both.

“Where is she now?” He asked them in a feral whisper. “Is she burning or at peace? Has she found Brigid? Will they be waiting for me? Or does she still belong to him? I gave her everything, did she ever love me? Did she ever love any of us or was it always just him?”

“Let the ladies alone, Lestrange.” One of the guards commanded. Their wands were out but there was no need to use them. Rodolphus offered no resistance as they pulled him away from his sister-in-laws and lead him away.

Then he was gone and they were alone, Narcissa and Andromeda, the remaining sisters. When Rodolphus had lunged at them, they had grasped each others hands. In the empty chapel they continued to stand, hand in hand.

“Who was Brigid?” Andromeda finally asked.

“You asked me when she became a monster,” Narcissa said. “Let me tell you.”

*****

I was still a schoolgirl when you left with the Muggle-born. He’s dead now and I suppose you loved him, but I won’t pretend it wasn’t a blow to lose you to someone like that, someone so low. It was humiliating to all of us, we lost face and you know how much appearance mattered to Mama and Papa. They might be like warring Gods behind closed doors but to the eyes of others we were always the perfect family; beautiful, powerful, pure of blood, upholding of ancient traditions, better than everyone else, proud and noble.

We had our dignity.

I think that Bella believed devotedly in the myth of our family. Then you marred the flawless image. You were the first crack in the house of Black’s facade. Not that I blame you for what she became, but when you left you might as well have slashed Bella’s gorgeous face with a razor blade.

After you left, our family fragmented. Mother couldn’t bear the shame. She withdrew from society, withdrew from everything. Father seethed with a silent, killing rage that gnawed through him and ate him alive in less than a year’s time. As for me, I was concerned primarily with maintaining my own status in the face of our family’s disgrace. I fought hard to hold my place, to ensure that I was still invited to the right parties, courted by the proper class of young men, admired by the women who mattered. It wasn’t easy. It took bullying and scheming, clawing, using and discarding people who could only get me so far.

Bella helped me through it all. She didn’t need to, she was already married to Rodolphus and it would have been easy for her to drop me for the sake of her own reputation but she didn’t. She bloodied her nails on my behalf. Without her I never would have been able to hold my rightful place and carry away my prize, a husband who was wealthy and prestigious enough to erase the memory of your indiscretions.

I married Lucius Malfoy two years after you ran away. Two horrible years during which everything comforting and familiar had disappeared—school ended, father died, mother went to pieces. Every day was a fight and every day it seemed like the ground beneath my feet would give way and I would fall into some bottomless abyss. When I married Lucius, I was safe again. I had hope for another family, a family of my own. That was enough for me.

How simple I was, how easily satisfied, compared to her. She needed so much more. Rodolphus could never be enough for her any more than I could. After you broke the charmed circle of the family Black, the next place Bellatrix found a home was among the Death Eaters.

Lord Voldemort was known in those days, respected or feared depending. Still, he was only a man then, powerful, but just another Wizard. Bella changed all that. She made him more because to her, he was more. She made him a deity or a demon, someone whose name could not be spoken. She became his evangelist, she had that power, to enflame others with her fervor.

Enflame them, or burn them alive.

Of course, I didn’t see this at first. My husband was a Death Eater, he had been one long before Bella became involved. Most of our acquaintances were involved with the Death Eaters or supported them. The mission of the Death Eaters, to protect the prominence of the old families of pure blood made perfect sense to me, though I was not a Death Eater myself. I cared little for politics. I was selfish that way. I had my husband, my sister, my place in society.

I had my niece.

Not your little girl. I knew nothing about her. And you knew nothing about Brigit.

She was Bella and Rodolphus’ daughter.

Rodolphus’ not Voldemort’s.

I will admit that when I first learned that Bella was going to have a child it crossed my mind that the Dark Lord might be the father but Brigit was very much Rodolphus’ child. You could see him in her from the start. You could see Bella in Brigit as well, in her grey eyes, in the wildness of her spirits and the strength of her will.

Brigit was a lovely child, so bright and fearless. She might have been anything, that little girl. Rodolphus adored her, positively doted on her and Bella seemed to have found something that mattered to her more than Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

Just before her second Birthday, Brigit died.

It was sudden, so shockingly sudden I scarcely believed it. One day she was robustly healthy, beautiful, high spirited child with decades ahead of her, the next day she was gone forever.

After I heard, I went to their house. Voldemort was there, holding court. One of his latchkeys informed me that Rodolphus had fallen to piece and had to be sedated, and that Bella was gone.

I went looking for her. It was a December night, the sky was pinkish violet with clouds and it was snowing like Christmas Eve in a children’s picture book. I went to mother’s, to Aunt Walburga’s and the Rosier’s. None of them had seen her. I searched the pubs and looked for her on bridges. Then I remembered this place, this chapel where we had come to each Sunday when we were girls. I remembered our white dresses, the glow of the candles and Mary’s outstretched arms.

I found her here, sitting in silence looking up at the image in the window. Because it was Advent, Mary’s robes were deep shades of pink and purple. They cast a glow of rose and violet on Bella’s face. She was not crying. She was proud and strong, but so passionate, so quick to anger or laughter. I had expected her to be crying but instead her face was set, like a statue’s. She looked hardened, impervious, above and beyond her pain and that frightened me.

Lucius and I had been trying unsuccessfully to have a child for nearly three years. With Brigit, I had allowed myself to experience motherhood vicariously and now I experience a mother’s grief while her true mother seemed beyond feeling. It seemed wrong that she should be unmoved by the death of her child. I felt shivers running down my spine and I went to her, desperate to connect with her.

I held her, comforted her, as if she were weeping even as she remained coldly stoic. Then finally she turned her face to me. The pinks and purples of Mary’s robes blended, casting a wine colored light dancing on her beautiful features. Her eyes were half-closed, languorous as an opium smoker.

“Dear Narcissa,” she whispered. “Will you share this with me?”

I could not answer. Instead I kissed her.

I kissed her like a lover.

My sister.

I only tell you because I think that you understand what it was to be under her spell.

I kissed her, and she kissed me.

We kissed, here in the chapel, under the gaze of the Virgin Mary in her advent robes. Her hand moved under my skirt, up my thigh where my black lace stockings gave way to flesh. We kissed and I believed that I had reached her, that we shared, that this was love, deep and dark as the hidden recesses of the heart.

That kiss would come back to bite me, though not for years.

Little Brigit was gone, but we went on. Bella commissioned the other window of this chapel in her daughter’s memory. Saint Brigit with her snakes-- a fierce Celtic serpent Goddess, deified.

Snakes.

Snakes seemed to be creeping into my life everywhere in those days. Voldemort, who now wore a great snake draped about him, became ever more prominent for my husband and sister both. Without children of their own it seemed as if they became ever more his children. They were rivals, competing with each other for his attentions, goading each other on to greater, more daring shows of devotion. As for Rodolphus, he was lost. He never fully recovered from Brigit’s death. More and more he seemed to face into Bella’s shadow, palely echoing her words. I often wondered during those years if I would become to Lucius as he was to Bella—a ghostly mimic still clinging to a spouse too focused on the Dark Lord to remember they were there.

Then I became pregnant with Draco and everything changed. Lucius remembered me and stepped back from the Death Eaters. We were a husband and wife again, no longer a sad parody. When our son was born, we were a real family. Lucius remained loyal to Voldemort and a leader of the Death Eaters but his heart was elsewhere.

Bellatrix did not take to Draco as I had taken to Brigit. She seemed to dislike him from the start. At first, I told myself it was natural. Having lost her daughter, how could it not pain her to see me with my son? At first, I made excuses for her distain for Draco, for the anger she seemed to harbor for him. Then she began to frighten me.

Sometimes I would find her in his nursery, standing over his cradle like the evil fairy in a storybook-- a loaming, wild-haired silhouette muttering strange words to herself. Once I found a snake curled up, sleeping beside Draco. A little garden snake, not poisonous, but frightening nonetheless. Had Bellatrix put it there? Who else could have? I never spoke to her about it, never accused her of anything. I was trained, after all, to save face and how can there be a madwoman in the perfect family?

One night when Draco was six months old Lucius was away on Death Eater business. I curled up with Draco on an old velvet lounge beside the fire and we slept. When I awoke, the embers of the dying fire lit the room in a scarlet glow. Bella stood beside the fireplace, holding Draco in her arms.

“Narcissa, dear, my pretty one,” she said. Her voice was small and trembling. “Tell me again, what happened tonight? What happened four years ago tonight? Do you know?”

Then I remembered it was the anniversary of Brigit’s death.

“Brigit, your daughter, my niece…” I began, and then paused, searching for the kindest words. “Four years ago, Brigit was taken away from us.”

“Why should your child live when mine died?” She asked.

I shivered.

“I don’t know,” I told her. “I don’t know why Bella but please let me have him. Give him to me. Please give Draco to me.”

I took Draco from her and laid him in his crib. As I did I felt her arms around waist, her hands moved over my breasts, her warm breath on my neck then her lips.

“He came to me, as I’ve come to you,” she whispered, her voice a hurried sing-song. “Four years ago he came to my husband and I by night and he asked us for our child. Rodolphus would have refused but I convinced him that we must submit to the will of the Dark Lord. I gave him permission, to do as he would. We took him to her room. He had a snake around his neck. He told us the snake would be his immortality then he took his wand and said the magic words. His eyes glowed and some force, some power filled the snake but Brigit was empty. Now I come to you as he came to me. Will you offer your child to the Dark Lord, to use as he will, to serve him or to be a sacrificed to him? Will you share this with me?”

“You let him kill her. You stood by and let him kill her. Your own daughter…” I wanted to scream, but I was whispering. I felt as though I were still asleep, trapped between a nightmare and a voluptuous dream.

“Share this with me, Narcissa. Give him your son. Brigit life was given for the Dark Lord’s glory. There is no higher purpose.”

I was crying now, tears running down my cheeks and my hands were clenched into claws.

“Has Lucius agreed to this?” I hissed. Bella laughed.

“Men are weak and sentimental,” she said. “Look at my husband, an impotent wraith still whimpering over his baby girl. I saw no reason to involve him.”

I remember mouthing the words “thank you.” I was not thanking her, perhaps I was thanking God. If Lucius had given her permission to give Draco over the Voldemort I might have broken but now I knew he was on my side, that he would find it all as abhorrent as I did. Knowing this I had the power to resist her.

I mouthed the words “thank you,” and the kiss I had given her four years before returned to me. She kissed me, and I kissed her. Because I loved her, I really did love her. She had held my hand in the dark as mother and father screamed at each other and in the light when made our appearance as a family beyond reproach. After you left, I clung to her and she had held me up. She had protected me from shame, fear and need. I didn’t want to see what she had become.

I might have even believed I could still reach her.

I only tell you this, because I think you understand what it was to love her and to defy her. How hard it was to let her go.

I know she saw you before you left with your Mr. Tonks. Did she ask you to give him up, for the sake of the family as she asked me to give up my son, for the sake of the cause? When you said no, did her eyes flash? Did she kiss you like she owned you? Did you kiss her back?

I remember that there were bruises on her throat the day you left, livid purple bruises. Her chemise was torn and her hair was a mess.

You always were fiercer than I, Andromeda.

I did not give in to her, but I never told her no, either.

I tried to reach her as she tried to own me and when it was over, I put on my clothes and combed my hair. I pretended that there was nothing wrong. I maintained a perfect façade, but for almost a year, I watched Draco vigilantly night and day.

When Bellatrix was sentenced to Azkaban it seemed like a dark cloud had lifted.

It returned when she escaped.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
melusinahp
Jan. 23rd, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
God. That's left me all shaken. Too believable and a shocking portrait of the extent of Bellatrix's loyalty.
bitterfic
Jan. 30th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I'm so glad you liked it.
etrangere
Jan. 24th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
That was gorgeous! loved how you write the interplay of the sisters, and their husband.
bitterfic
Jan. 26th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I know you don't read much Harry Potter fic anymore so it means a lot that you read and commented on this.
ashirashadow
Jan. 25th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC)
Dude...word. :D
bitterfic
Jan. 26th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked it.
gingerlemons
Jan. 28th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
Oh wow...very unsettling and beautiful.

Bellissimo. :)
bitterfic
Jan. 30th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm really pleased to know you liked the story.
greenovalfruit
Feb. 3rd, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
That was amazing. I think that outstripped JK's efforts in a certain way (ah, how can we honestly look up to her now after The Epilogue?)

That was beautiful and sad and perfect.
bitterfic
Feb. 4th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked it.
eternellie
Feb. 6th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
That was absolutely gorgeous! It's left me stirred and in awe of you skill.
I've always thought there is a rather dramatic past to the Black sister and well, here we have it. Lovely.
bitterfic
Feb. 9th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm pleased to know you liked the story.
yaoislashfan
Feb. 19th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
guh. Amazing and so dark. I love it.
bitterfic
Feb. 20th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm pleased to know you liked the story.
dariclone
Aug. 9th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
Nice to see Andromeda and Narcissia recconnecting through this. Wow, Belatrix is even more so insane than I thougth. :)
bitterfic
Aug. 9th, 2008 12:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting.
merlins_babe
May. 1st, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
This story has been rec'ed at
The Golden Seeker
bitterfic
May. 2nd, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
Thank you so much.
holyfant
May. 2nd, 2009 11:49 am (UTC)
Quite chilling and very believable! Great work.
bitterfic
May. 4th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
terravayne
May. 4th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
This was incredible. The way you weaved in all the disturbing elements and Bella's insanity throughout the narrative was very eloquent. I'm so glad this was rec'ed and I got a chance to read this.
bitterfic
May. 13th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I'm glad you liked it.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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