|the love criminal (hecticity) wrote in hp_traditions,|
@ 2009-05-31 18:45:00
|Entry tags:||2009, bellatrix/tom, pg|
Happy traditions, pinch-hitters!
Title: The Oak King
Gift For: pinch-hitters and other helpers! ♥
Pairing(s): Bellatrix/Tom Riddle (Voldemort)
Summary: Tom recruits Bellatrix
Author's notes: So much thanks to ET who put up with everything from me and this fic, including bad email trouble and a last minute perfectionist delete-happy finger.
Mod note: You can also read this story on Livejournal. Please leave feedback for our talented authors!
Bellatrix Black had always been drawn to the darkness in magic, or at least, as long as she could remember. Her first memory was sitting, ignored, in her father’s study, watching Cygnus as he studied or muttered to himself. In those first years, the idea of giving her so much as a smile was unheard of, and teaching her anything, when she might say something, with the precociousness of childhood, that she should not was unrealistic and didn’t even cross his mind -- but Bellatrix watched anyway.
When Narcissa was born, everything changed. Bellatrix knew that like her and Andromeda before, Cygnus and Druella alike had been hoping for a boy, an heir, someone to carry on the Black line. It was shortly after Narcissa’s birth that Cygnus withdrew for a time into his study, and when he came out, he took Bellatrix under his wing. Later, she would think rather cynically that if he couldn’t have a son, she was good enough for a replacement, but in her youth, all that mattered was the learning and the pride she saw in his eyes.
when she first heard the rumours in Slytherin, she dismissed them. The Knights of Walpurgis had taken a new name. What did that matter? That meant nothing. It was just a social club for pureblood men to whinge about their lack of sons or how they wished the world would be. There was no real change, no real ambition in them. Still, she listened, after all, she needed to know what was going on in her House. When Rodolphus and Montague returned from some meeting in Hogsmeade, fired up about change, about revolution, she was amazed. The last thing that had gotten Montague’s attention for more than two minutes was a miniskirt.
Rodolphus invited her to come with them the next time, but Bellatrix turned him down. She was nothing if not a Black, and she wasn’t going to wait to find out what she wanted to know. She heard phrases tossed around king, heir, but it meant nothing to her, at least not yet.
The night was inky three days later, when Bellatrix slid along the shadows into Hogsmeade, without so much as the peep of a prefect. The town was laid out before her like a chessboard, and she slid along the perimeter, watching and waiting, like a wolf on a hunt who had caught a scent. For all her strength and brashness that set her apart from the lean, feminine strength of her youngest sister, and her obedience to her parents that separated her from Andromeda, as much as Druella liked to say that Bellatrix was her father’s daughter, she was not for nothing a Slytherin, she could bleed subtlety if she wished.
She didn’t have trouble picking him out from the shadows outside the Scrivener’s Shop. He w as tall, lean, almost nondescript and unremarkable except for the aura of power and strength that emanated from him. She was curious, but not impressed. It took a lot to impress her. So she stalked him, wanting to find the truth of him, wanting to know why he was catching the attention of Slytherin House. It was a little tough, he was good at slipping away, but just as she was willing to cross over from the station and head back to school, he turned to look at her, and it was like a shock to her system. She heard rather than felt herself gasp. She had never seen eyes like that, intense, dark, and powerful. She pulled herself up straight, the regal bearing of her forefather’s coming out in her spine. She was a Black, she was practically royalty, after all, Tojours Pur. She thought for a moment that he didn’t see her, despite the fact that he was staring into her eyes.
“Bellatrix, Black.” He said, voice as smooth as sin, with a slight edge to it, like it might soften into a hiss. “I’m honoured that you saw fit to stalk me, but why don’t you come along to my next meeting with your cousin?” He had been moving closer, crowding her, and she hadn’t even noticed. Her spine straightened and muscles tensed, ready to fight -- flight was not an option for a Black -- but he just smirked, as if he could read her mind. He lowered his head, and picked up her cold, pale hand, and pressed a kiss to the knuckles, ignoring the way her mouth had twisted in distaste. “Enchanted, Miss Black.”
That time she was sure. There was a definite hiss to his words, and despite herself, she shivered as it seemed to run through her system like a shock of static or a shot of firewhiskey drank too fast. She pulled away, refusing to blush like some of the pathetic schoolgirls that shared her house (she had doubts of their suitability to Slytherin anyway). Romance was for the weak, she was only intrigued by the change, the hope he tried to promise, and the aura of power that surrounded him. She doubted anyone could achieve it -- especially one whose name she had never heard before. Still though, why would he support, nay even attempt to propel purebloods where they belonged unless he saw something of his own advancement and greater position in it?
She bid him good night, watching as he turned and left, melting into the shadows with such skill that it reminded her of her mother disappearing into a crowd at a party, floating or materialising instead of simply walking like everyone else had to do. She was impressed, but she tried not to be. After all, he had done nothing to deserve her amazement, though she had to admit, he piqued her interest.
Christmas was almost here, the weather cold, and on one late night, Bellatrix quietly joined the small group of Slytherin boys sneaking out of the school. She gave Rowle a withering glare, and fell in step beside Evan, trusting her cousin to keep her out of the line of flirtation. She usually didn’t care, but she had greater things on her mind as they slipped into the small tent, erected in the woods near the Hogsmeade station.
Obviously, it was larger on the inside than it was on the outside. There were wooden chairs, nondescript and covered with uncomfortable crocheted cushions. She sank down on a plaid one in distatste, looking around through the corner of he vision, as the group whispered and the room hummed with potential energy. Just as she started to get annoyed and got to her feet with a sigh -- she was Bellatrix Black, no one made her wait -- He appeared. It was really the first time she thought of him like that, in capitals, He, like she rather thought of Cygnus. If Tom Riddle had been impressive when she had met him in a darkened Hogsmeade he was awe-inspiring now. The thing was, his clothes were plain, and his manner easy, not haughty. It was something else, something that lurked just below the surface. A power, a confidence, something that lurked just beneath the surface.
He spoke quietly at first, but the room hushed instantly, as people strained to hear his every word, like eager children who spied a new treat in Honeyduke’s window. Despite herself, she found herself frozrn in her spot, arms crossed over her chest, and eyes going wide as his voice got louder and louder, becoming more passionate, and as he spoke, as he painted the picture of what could be, for the first time in a long time, Bellatrix felt hope.
“More than a century has passed since the days when wizarding kind, blinded by promises of safety at home and abroad, lost touch with honor and freedom, thereby losing all of it. Since that day of treachery, when the Ministry decided for us that we should withdrawal, pretend not to exist as the Muggles grew more and more powerful and more dangerous to us. With profound distress hundreds of the best men and women from all walks of life have seen the unity of the our kind vanishing away, dissolving in a confusion of political and personal opinions, mixed breedings, and blood differences. Since that day, as so often in the past, We have presented a picture of heartbreaking disunity. We never received the equality and fraternity we had been promised, and we lost our liberty to boot. For when our kind have lost our place and allow the mudbloods and dirt-breeders to take over, how can we still call ourselves wizards?
We were firmly convinced that the we entered the exile without the slightest feeling of guilt or regret; filled only with the desire to defend ourselves from that which had been attacking us and to preserve the freedom, nay, the very existence, of wizarding people. This being so, we can only see in the disastrous fate which has overtaken us since those days. Our world, too, has suffered no less since then from overwhelming crises. The balance of power which had evolved in the course of history, and which formerly played no small part in bringing about the understanding of the necessity for an internal solidarity of families, of true wizards and witches, of greatness.
Instead, what do we have? Splintering! Disharmony caused by the foul creatures that sent us into this exile in the first place? And what do we do about it? Nothing! We allow them more and more power, we teach their filthy spawn who develop freakish shadows of our power, and half-breed children of traitors! The greatest of us grow fat in complacency as they discuss what could be and what is rather than do anything about it! No more, I say, no more! it is time to stand up for ourselves and our progeny. We cannot allow them to destroy even more than they already have! The Holly King has had his time to reign, and it is time for us to play the part of the Oak King, and take our power back! This is the time for the winter of their discontent!
All about us the warning signs of this collapse are apparent. Muggles with their methods of madness are making a powerful and insidious attack upon our dismayed and shattered people. They seek to poison and disrupt in order to hurl us into an epoch of chaos.... Their negative, destroying spirit spared nothing of all that is highest and most valuable. Beginning with the family, it has undermined the very foundations of morality and faith and scoffs at culture and business, nation and Fatherland, justice and honor. A century of exile has ruined the Wizarding World; one century of breeding with dirt and their kind would destroy it. The richest and fairest territories of our world would be turned into a smoking heap of ruins. Even the sufferings of the last decade and a half could not be compared to the misery of a Europe in the heart of which the flag of destruction had been hoisted. The thousands of wounded and corrupted bloodlines, the hundreds of dead which this inner strife has already cost our people should be a warning of the storm which would come if we let them continue their encroachment into our world unabated! How long will we dumb down lessons for those of muddied blood, to ignorant to weild power? how long will we hide, when we are superior? It is time to take back our world! It is time to take back our blood! It is time to take back Europe from the muggle filth!
By the end of his speech, the small tent was filled with cheering, and as her classmates filed back towards the school, or headed back home, Bellatrix stayed behind, holding back as she tried to figure out her thoughts, as moved as anyone else, if not moreso. It seemed like he was promising everything, and it was so utterly reasonable that she couldn’t find fault with it -- not to mention the fact that his eyes seemed to draw her in. She wanted those promises, wanted it all. She was a Slytherin after all.
She was startled when he came down the stairs to her, not really smiling, but not really smirking either, something in between. “I hoped you’d come.” he said in a tone that really said ‘I knew you’d come.’ Something in his voice when turned on her, made her shiver again. she felt stupid for it, weak, but he ignored it completely, if he even saw it.
“Do you know the story of the Oak King?” He said, his voice almost a hiss as his fingers ran over the delicate, perfect stitches on her woolen robes. Without waiting for an answer, he continued. “Every year, on this night, people believe that a battle occurs, between the Holly King, who rules the world between Midsummer and Midwinter, but that tonight, on Midwinter, the Oak King kills him in battle, bringing light back into the world after the darkest night.” His fingers ghosted over her cheek, and she shivered again. “I think it’s time to stop this endless winter, don’t you?”
Bellatrix nodded, not even thinking. “Yes.” She breathed, remembering seeing such staged scenes from her childhood, and imagining Tom crowned with greatness and oak leaves.
“but the thing is, everyone needs a leader.” He had that sensual hiss in his voice again, one that made her heart race. “But every leader needs someone...” He met her eyes. “You have more than potential, Bella, you have greatness.” He tilted her head up. “Side with me, and not only will you bring greatness back to the purebloods, but if you are loyal, you will be elevated even further, the greatest reward, for the most loyal and most beautiful.”
His head dropped slightly until his breath ghosted over his lips, and Bellatrix would have done anything at that point, the odd feeling running through her veins, but he pulled back a moment later, leaving her unsatisfied.
“Anything.” She said softly, and he smiled, touching her forearm. “I knew you would be the one.” And for that moment, it was as if nothing else existed.
Years later, when she was married off to Rodolphus, she would remember that night, and during long, cold nights in Azkaban, she would sing small songs to herself about the Oak King, speaking to the place where her Mark had been, as it faded, knowing that, like the story always went, he would come back, come for her, by Midwinter’s Eve. She had what so many other Death Eaters lacked, faith.
The Dark Lord was more than just a leader, to her he was the god of her idolatry, the man she loved more than life itself, her greatest hope, and her master, and the saviour of wizardkind, all rolled into one -- but he had been first, and would always remain foremost, The Oak King, and when she fell asleep she dreamed of his warm breath on her skin, and the pride in his eyes when he had called her the most loyal. She knew he would return, he always did, and when he did, he would set free his Bella from the endless autumn and winter.