He was on the very brink of existence. The horrors of Azkaban had consumed him. His heart was shattered on the floor in front him -a heart that used to beat and breathe and even love.
A stray beam of moonlight poured gently through the bars that had imprisoned him for so long. He flinched and quickly shielded his eyes from the unfamiliar light. Moments like this were rare and he knew better than to waste it by bawling his eyes out…but despite his efforts , it was impossible not to. Silent tears rolled down his cheeks – revealing the streaks of his pale skin that lay beneath the permanent layer of grey that had settled on his face.
He was all alone. The Dark Lord has perished. There was no purpose to live anymore. His friends were as dead as dust. He was the last one. The last living Death Eater.
The moonlight illuminated his cell and when he finally let his guard down, he felt himself fading. Fading into the light. The silence was precious. No screams of torture, nothing. Just silence. He sighed softly and climbed desperately towards the light. His ribs ached. Everywhere ached. He was broken – a dead man walking.
He latched his arms around the godforsaken bars ignoring the excruciating pain in his sockets and just hung there, staring into the moon – admiring its beauty as if it was the only beautiful thing left in the world. Something that could be admired by everyone. Good or evil.
Little did he know the silent presence of another in the room. Little did he realize, the signature coldness in the air. The blanket of sorrow that had settled upon the atmosphere.
He just closed his eyes and soaked in the wonderful pearly glow of the brilliant night sky. It was like a rare glimpse of heaven. All that was in his mind was how strangely the moon reminded him of her. Of his strange sweet Bella.
*. *. *
“You’re always beautiful, Bella,” he said as he watched her examine herself in the mirror.
“Don’t call me that, you scrawny piece of filth,” she snapped as she fixed her untamable mass of hair.
Rudolphus sighed and observed his wife. No, beautiful was definitely not a word to describe her, but he was no fool to tell her that. She was just too strange. She was too strange for any man to just appreciate her beauty.
She was strange – she knew she was and she liked it that way.
Maybe in that sense, they were perfect for each other.
Azkaban had changed her. It marked her – it scratched scars on the person she once was. And yet he marveled at the strange way all those years in that living hell had stolen some of her and yet enhanced some of her. Her beauty may have diminished but the fire that burned in her soul never died. He remembered her gleeful, maniacal laughter as the unbearable feeling coursed through their veins- the amount of longing devotion in her shadowy eyes when the Dark Mark on her wrist glowed. Her love for the Dark Lord never soared higher.
“The Dark Lord summons you,” Pettigrew’s sniveling voice sounded from the door.
Bella was up in an instant. Her expression was one that was all too familiar, one that was so much in contrast with the earlier look on her face – an expression of utter devotion. She adored his name. It sent visible shivers down her spine.
He was cut off when he felt her wand jabbing at the base of his neck.
“Do NOT call me that,” she hissed. A curse already forming at the tip of her tongue.
It was only reserved for the him. For the Dark Lord.
For some odd reason, Rudolphus knew. He didn’t have to hear it. He could see it in her eyes.
– * –
A long time ago, Bellatrix Black and Rudolphus Lestrange were arranged for a pure blood marriage.
It wasn’t even a proper ‘I do’. She simply nodded her head and stared at him with her distant unfocused eyes. “Can we get on with it?”
Rudolphus Lestrange just stared back at his newly wedded wife and hoped that somewhere in that little world she was living in inside her head – it would be him she was thinking of day and night because everyone knew who was really the center of Bellatrix’s world.
“There was no love there, obviously,” she said frankly to her husband one day. “I hate you.”
– * –
The atmosphere changed. The walls of the room disappeared and were replaced with a burning fireplace. They were in the Black House.
He remembered that night, a long long time ago, when they were both young and betrothed. She had received a peculiar letter. It was the third time she had received a letter such as this and she took care of it as if it was of utmost importance – her greatest treasure. Every letter tucked safely in her personal drawer under a locking charm.
They were spending the evening in the living room. Sitting by the fire, when suddenly, a beautifully sealed envelope just popped out of nowhere and landed precisely into her hands. Bella gasped and touched it with such gentleness he didn’t even know she was capable of. Nevertheless, Rudolphus looked at the letter with fascination, there was no owl – it was as if it just apparated by itself.
As her nimble fingers slowly moved to peel off the seal, Rudolphus stopped her.
His hopeless voice was muffled.
“Shut UP!SHUT UP! Silencio! Silencio! You dim witted twit! You coward! Am I really to spend my entire life with such an unworthy low-life such as yourself! I think not. You have no right to call yourself a pure blood !!!” she yelled at the top of her lungs, her eyes glaring straight into his, that if looks could kill, he would have already been a pile of disintegrated dust.
Her words stung and the pain was feeding on his poor heart. He said nothing in return. He couldn’t. He just loved her too much.
And so he watched read her letter, pretending that the letter was one of his own and that the rare, soft, beautiful expression that was etched onto her face, was only reserved for him. Every second, a pang of hurt was stabbing his heart like an unforgiving dagger.
He just wanted to reach out and hold her. Telling her that they were all lies. All those sweet charms and compliments. All the strange knowledge of the Dark Arts. All the disturbing spells and techniques. All summed up in beautifully looped calligraphy – a typically perfect Slytherin scrawl.
He sighed and stood up and let her wander in her own world -leaving her hunched over the strange letter with her rich mass of ebony hair curtained around her face – shielding her from the reality she refused to wake up to.
He gave her one last longing look before disappearing out the door – leaving her with that strange letter from that strange man.
Mister Tom Marvolo Riddle.
– * –
As the years past, her dark lord became her obsession. She was in love with him. She would die for him. She willingly strode straight into Azkaban for him ( which is far worst than a painless death, mind you).
And yet after all that, she couldn’t understand. There was something she just couldn’t grasp. He could never love her back. He didn’t love. He didn’t know love. Love didn’t exist in him – in every seven parts of his soul.
She didn’t care. It didn’t matter. She was his best lieutenant. His right hand woman. His first female death eater. His Bella.
*. *. *
Rudolphus shivered as the dementor backed away slowly. Its blind eyes searching his. Had he not realized it’s presence?The empty coldness in the air? The dementor wandered around his cell like a lost angel of death, silently making its next move.
Rudolphus backed away. He was afraid. He wanted to scream. His body wracked with sorrow that all the torture in Azkaban would be nothing compared to this. This sadness was going to be the death of him – he was sure of it. A dementor would probably look like the happiest creature in the planet next to him.
The walls were covered in a sheet of ice. The dim glow of moonlight vanished and he was alone with this weeping angel in pitch darkness. He choked back a sob. This was not how it was supposed to end.
And with that, it attacked, slowly and surely and Rudolphus Lestrange melted into the dementor’s kiss.
The happiness was gone almost as instantly as it arrived. Images flashed past him. Memories that could never be replaced. The memories that had kept him alive all this while disappearing before his eyes. His desperate sobs were swallowed by the whirling of the dementor’s unforgiving mouth. It sucked the remaining joy out of him. Then all of a sudden, he saw her. He saw her die. He saw the heart wrenching memory he was trying to stow away for oh so long.
The scene was all too familiar. An incident he swore he would never forget until the day he died.
Bellatrix’s gloating smile froze. Her eyes seemed to bulge and for the tiniest space of time,she knew what had happened and she toppled, and the watching crowd roared and Voldemort SCREAMED.
It didn’t matter whatever that cry of anguish was for. It didn’t matter whatever the reason was behind that sudden display of almost human emotion. It didn’t matter that the only reason he did that was because she was merely his most valuable pawn in a sick twisted game.
IT didn’t matter.
Because Rudolphus knew that Bellatrix knew, that it was meant for HER.
And Rudolphus hated it.
He hated the fact that after everything they’ve been through, she could have that satisfaction. She could rest knowing that she died for the Dark Lord and that the Dark Lord cared.
He hated that he was crying for her.
And as the ice thawed out in his miserable cell, he wept in the shadows – rocking away the pain. His scrawny legs bundled to his chest. His tired head resting on the tops of his hollow knee caps.
He hated that he was crying for his strange, sweet Bella.