Literatti: Fiction By Deslea
Into The Donacon
Deslea R. Judd
Summary: While breaking his followers out of Azkaban, the Dark Lord is reunited with his lieutenant and lover. She is not what he remembered. Neither is he.
Word Count: Approx 1220
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Fourteen years and a couple of months, really. Fifteen years in round figures though. That was how long she had been in Azkaban. That was how long it had been since she had taken her seat before the Wizengamot as though it were a throne, proclaiming that the Dark Lord would return.
And now he was here.
How she had longed for this day. Screamed for it, rocked frantically against her hand and moaned for it.
There had been more to her once. She knew this. They said the Dementors fed on joyful memories, and that was true, but only part-true. They fed on the joy but left the recall. She knew her life-that-was, but it no longer mattered at all.
They had left her memories of the Dark Lord alone. There was joy in those, yes, but a dark and flint-edged joy that seemed not to their taste. The Dementors would follow the Dark Lord, but not feed on him, not even when they clawed at the rest of her, ravenous with hunger. They would sink one creeping tendril of a finger around a certain corner of her mind, come upon her stretched out beneath him, choking out her allegiance like he had shoved the words from her with the movements of his body, and they would scurry away just as quickly. Like stumbling on something too profound (or profane) even for them.
Once she had been a girl with girlish ideals. Oh, not courtship and silliness; Bellatrix was too sensible for that. But ideals of a better world, oh yes. Ideals of courage and resolve and purpose. Once she had dreamed of setting the world ablaze. Cleansing it with righteous fire. Reigning over it, Pure over the Pure, all else washed away.
Now she dreamed only of him.
She had screamed with joy, sounds of delight that seemed demented even to her as he flew past her cell, ripping through its outer walls like they were made of paper. She had stood at the very edges where the floor fell away, sea salt in her nostrils, flecks of snow in her hair, and cried out to him over and over.
But then when he had swooped down, just a black shadow approaching the remains of her window, she suddenly realised where she was, how she must look, and she backed away into the shadows. Trembling with horror, with humiliation. The fifteen years that she had dwelled on with loving pride now seemed to taunt her. Fifteen years of loyalty? More like fifteen years of destruction, ravages etched across her body.
"My Lord," she choked out, head sunk low. Her hair straggled down on either side of her face, shielding her from his gaze.
"Bellatrix," he said. She could see his shadow stretched out on the stone floor between them, and his head was tilted to one side. "My loyal Bellatrix."
"I never lost faith, my Lord," she whispered. "Never."
"And yet you hide from me like a little child," he chided, making a reproachful clucking sound like a schoolteacher. It was surreal, to be on the receiving end of his coaxing condescension, but she had never hidden from him before. Never hidden from anyone.
Silent tears slipped from beneath her eyelids. He was here, so close, and she couldn't look on him. It was agony.
"Look at me," he said sharply.
It was the voice of ultimate command, and even as her face crumpled, her head rose, as though pulled by a thread. Her face rose to look on the moonlight, and his silhouetted form cast across it.
The Dark Lord stepped forward. Familiar fingers gripped her chin and turned her face, right and left. Tilted her jaw, showing her teeth, crooked and yellow where once they had been white and straight.
He tugged at her shoulder, at her prison garb. "Take it off."
Her lips trembled, but she complied, pulling it over her head. Sat there naked, her knees drawn up to her chest. She was emaciated, virtually nothing left of her breasts. Barely female. Barely human.
"You disappoint me, Bellatrix," he said harshly.
She closed her eyes and nodded. "Yes, my Lord."
"Did you think, Bellatrix, that I wanted you for your lovely breasts? For your perfect teeth? For your clean womanly scent and for your long dark eyelashes and your flowing soft hair?" His voice dripped scorn, and he reached down suddenly. Tugged her up hard against him by the arm.
She stared up into those dark eyes, glittering in the dim light. "Yes - I mean, no - I mean -"
"I wanted you in spite of them," he snarled. "In spite of all those things you treasured, even when you said your only love was me. Pretty Bellatrix with her pretty house and her pretty husband and her pretty pathetic little life."
"But you don't have those things anymore, do you?" he went on. "Your house has been sold by the Ministry. Your husband doesn't remember why you mattered, if you ever did in between his liaisons with pretty young lords. Your pretty little life," he said, waving his free hand behind him, "has vanished into the sea. And even your pretty body is gone, consumed by a world that doesn't care for you and never did."
She could feel the heat of humiliation rising in her face, followed by the cold realisation of truth. "Yes, my Lord."
"You have nothing," he whispered. "You are nothing."
She nodded wordlessly, her face upturned to his in surrender. Drowning, she thought, in her own misery.
His free hand sank into her hair. Bore the weight of her head. He bent to rasp against her cheek, "You have never been so perfect. Never been so like me."
Her breath hitched in her chest. Convulsively, she gripped at his cloak as the meaning of his words sank in.
"My perfect love," he said against her lips, with a gentleness she had never heard before.
"My perfect Lord," she whispered back. Moaned as he cradled her, as he kissed her. He was tender. Adoring, even. It was all new.
All new, and all wrong.
It dawned on her in an explosion of sudden, stunning clarity that he was just a man. Something everyone had been trying to tell her for decades - even his most ardent followers, her husband among them. The clouds over her sanity had broken, just for a moment, given her a glimpse of the brokenness that must accompany a man such as he. He could love her now, she thought, because she had become an extension of himself.
Did it matter? Now, when she was broken too?
She decided that it didn't.
She sighed out a low, keening sound as he pressed her to the wall. Cried out at being restored as he made love to her, something he had never done, for all the times he had taken her before.
He was just a man, after all, she thought again when they were done. And if he was just a man, then that meant they were doomed.
Very well, she thought, then so be it. She was as broken as he; without him, she had nothing.
She would love while she could, fight to the end, and leave this world with a smile.
Author's Note: This story draws on the legend of Narcissus. (I wanted to call the story Narcissus, but this might have created the impression that the story was about Narcissa). The most common take on the legend is that Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a spring, but a variant, according to Pausanias 9.31.8, is that Narcissus fell in love with an un-named twin sister who was his perfect mirror image. The word Donacon, in the story title, is the place where Narcissus went to look at his own reflection and grieve for his sister. However, here the story is turned on its head: Voldemort has a pathologically exaggerated love for himself, grounded in his history as an unloved orphan, and seeks his own reflection in Bella.