Chapter 2 : Rodolphus

Chapter Two : Rodolphus

Bellatrix Apparated into the drab parlour of the house she had lived in before her fourteen years in Azkaban. Over that time it had fallen into disrepair, with an air of neglect smothered by its look of hidden cruelty. Perhaps it had taken on the traits of its occupants to make up for their absence.

Bellatrix threw off the blood traitor’s cloak into the dead fireplace where the charcoal ashes of a fire that had burned out over a decade ago remained. She pointed her wand into the grate and didn’t bother to speak the spell. The cloak caught on fire and burned at once, the flames making the edges of the faded room even darker and more ominous.

But Bellatrix was afraid of nothing. She had lived here, she knew the secrets of the house. Like her sister’s mansion, it had a hidden cellar below.

She siphoned the grime from the floor with her wand to reveal a slab of stone slightly larger than the others that made up the floor. Its edges were raised a little, and Bellatrix easily moved it with a Hover Charm. She descended into the darkness with her wand raised, and lit the lamp she knew to be waiting close to the bottom of the steep flight of roughly-hewn steps.

When she emerged into the underground room, she saw what she expected. A dark-haired man, his handsome looks long wasted away by years spent in prison to the gaunt waxy features that sat before her now. His robes were long, black and clean; no dust, nor blood.

“How long have you been down here?”

Bellatrix’s sharp voice cut the air like a razor blade across someone’s throat. But Bellatrix didn’t need a blade to kill, she only needed the strip of wood in her fingers that was now pointing at her husband. The gaunt man raised his head; it had been bowed over his knees as he hunched over.

“When did you flee the battle, Rodolphus?” she said coldly, stepping closer so that the skirt of her robe swished across the stone floor. She whipped her wand towards his throat, but he didn’t react or speak. His ignorance infuriated Bellatrix.

“You were never my husband,” Bellatrix spat her thoughts like acid, hoping to burn him. “You were never anything. You allowed yourself to rot, and I believed that when we all arose again you would rise with me. But no.”

Her voice was filled with disgust. Rodolphus knew what was coming. He tilted his head back so that the crown rested against the rough wall. His dim eyes were turned on her with almost indifferent disinterest.

“Bellatrix,” he said, and his voice was neither pleading, fearful, angry or weak. It sounded… lazy. As if he didn’t care, didn’t have time for her dramatics.

“How dare you speak to me!” she shrieked, letting her rage go. Sparks flew from the wand tip beneath Rodolphus’s eye. “I was the only one who ever truly loved the Dark Lord! I was the one who remained loyal to the end!”

Her voice broke off in a harsh sob before she continued, and it was back to icy.

“So I will be the one to take after him,” she said quietly. “I, Voldemort’s last and best lieutenant, will be the one to take over his reign in his stead. And Voldemort’s reign has no need for cowards.”

She flicked the wand; her husband deserved no words. The expression in his eyes had not changed as he watched the green light rush towards him, and it still seemed to be there even after his body had slumped. Bellatrix kicked him over, couldn’t bear to see his traitorous face anymore.

She ascended from the cellar and in the drawing room poured herself what was left in an extremely matured dusty bottle of wine.

“To the Dark Lord, and his rule - soon to be my own.“

She poured it into a glass decanter and took a prolonged drink.

The End

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