Who: Daphne Greengrass, Bellatrix Lestrange
Where: Parkinson Estate, France
Summary: Bellatrix speaks to Daphne for the first time since the breakout.
Five more minutes, Bellatrix sighed, frustrated. She glanced up at the large grandfather clock that sat in the study situated across the hall from her chambers in the Estate. She’d been waiting, truth be told, for well over two hours, sitting restlessly in the leather chair. Several books and what looked like pages from them were strewn on the parquet floor, she’d tried to read them, but only ended up tearing out odd pages and curling their edges between her fingers mindlessly. Three more minutes, she mused, looking up at the clock for what was probably the two hundredth time.
Daphne waited until it was within a few moments of 8 o'clock before she tried to use the portkey. Finally deciding that it was close enough, the girl touched the letter and was immediately transported outside a large estate. She didn't readily recognize where she was and quickly brought out her wand as a precaution. She tread carefully along the ground, her wand lit with Lumos. "Mistress?" she called out into the darkness.
Alert ears perked as the clock had just finished its eight o’clock chime. Bellatrix rose and strode slowly, arrogantly, to the open window of the study and leaned out. She smirked at the sight of Daphne walking around outside and went to the other end of the room, toward the door.
She swung open the double doors and walked out onto the veranda, her hands on her hips. “Miss Greengrass,” Bellatrix called in her Azkaban-tainted voice. She beckoned to her with one finger as the girl spun around and tried to see her in the darkness.
Daphne turned at the sound of her mistress's voice. She saw the slim outline of a figure against the darkness and approached it immediately. She couldn't help but smile as she sank to one knee. "Mistress, I'm so glad to see that you're safe."
Bellatrix put a cold hand on top of the girl’s head and moved it around to lift her chin. “Safe, yes. Won’t you join me inside?” Bellatrix gestured to the well-lit hallways of Parkinson Estate. “My study, to be exact. I’ve put an imperturbable charm on the door: No one will bother us.”
She turned and strode across the threshold and into the foyer, leading Daphne up a large staircase and into what looked like an old war room. One wall was lined with bookshelves, the contents of which were still on the floor.
Paying them no mind, Bellatrix walked over the books and to two chairs she’d set up next to an empty table. A second glance at the door brought the sight of a rather small house elf, shaking and carrying a spread of biscuits and tea. The elf set the tray down carefully and scurried back out and shut the door behind itself, a wave from Bellatrix' wand locking it. She looked back to Daphne, and pointed to one of the chairs. “Sit,” she ordered, and quickly remembering manners, “please.”
Daphne smiled when Bellatrix lifted her chin to gaze at her. Her mistress had grown even thinner in her most recent excursion to Azkaban but it did not diminish the power the witch exuded. Daphne nodded as Bella invited her inside and the young girl followed dutifully, up the stairs and into the study. Daphne watched intently as the house elf put down the tea and biscuits and quickly left. She gazed around the dimly lit room, taking in its contents before she heard Bellatrix' voice telling her to sit. She obeyed and smiled. "Thank you," she said softly. "Mistress, how are you doing here in these... surroundings?"
Bellatrix poured two cups of tea for the two of them and added the dash of cream and two sugars to hers, just the way she’d always taken it. She sipped and stared at Daphne. Bellatrix was contemplating her answer to the question, but it was not visible: she rather looked as though she’d drifted off into space.
A few long moments later, Bellatrix’ eyes darkened and she replied in a somber tone, “This place is worse than Azkaban.” She sipped again and set her teacup down, folding her hands in her lap. “I’m free, finally, but it doesn’t feel as such; the outside world looms directly outside the doorstep, but I can’t touch it, I can’t leave. The knowledge that I’m being kept here against my will isn’t a very happy one. Needless to say, they’ve all heard about it,” she said matter-of-factly. ‘They,’ meaning the rest of the Death Eaters.
Bellatrix picked up her teacup and sipped again, her hollowed eyes not leaving Daphne’s.
Daphne sipped the tea and relaxed against the hot liquid as it slid down her throat. She kept her eyes on Bellatrix, concentrating deeply as her mistress spoke her concerns as well as her complaints. When she finished, Daphne held her cup steadily in her hands and began to speak.
"Mistress... if this place does not please you then let me offer my home on the island of Tresco as your refuge. My parents are actually in the south of France tending to their vineyard and they would be more than happy if the Dark Lord's most trusted follower spent her time there."
Bellatrix smirked amusedly and set her teacup down. A way out? She thought excitedly to herself. “I appreciate your offer, Daphne,” she said slowly, narrowing her eyes. “Consider it accepted,” she finally replied after staring at Daphne for a minute or so. “I’ll have to be sure to notify Lucius,” she mocked her brother-in-law’s name with a sneer, “of my departure.” Bellatrix rose and went to the window, watching the mist rise from the forest under the moonlight. This was always her favourite part of the evening, she was sure never to miss it now that she had no excuse.
Forgetting the mist and as though suddenly spun by an invisible hand, Bellatrix whipped around, her eyes narrowed more maliciously now as she glared at Daphne. “Tell me about this potion of yours, child,” she said, her voice reflecting well the look in her eyes. She didn’t take well to complications in things, and Daphne’s owl from earlier that day had revealed that there were indeed a few.
Daphne smiled when Bellatrix accepted her offer and she took another sip of her tea. "Mistress, I don't see why you need to tell Lucius anything. As far as I'm concerned, you're the second-in-command only to Voldemort. And now that our Dark Lord is..." she couldn’t' finish the sentence, "Well, now that he is gone, YOU will continue his dream. And I will help you to the best of my ability." She picked up a biscuit and took a bite from it, watching Bellatrix move to the window carefully before spinning around, her eyes full of fury. The potion she asked about.. yes, she would have to talk about that.
"Mistress... the Mensmuto potion calls for fresh Hippogriff blood, an ingredient that I did not have readily available. So I used preserved blood and well... the effects were the same at first. I was able to control my victim easily. But after ten days... he died. And now the Thames has an Enforcer floating around it in waiting to be discovered. " She snickered softly at the last statement before regaining her composure.
“I only notify the bastard of what I do to invoke a reaction. He won’t be happy nor comfortable with my being gone, though: he does fancy himself the leader of this little group. If he only could see who holds the real power,” Bellatrix explained, her eyes still narrowed, thought not so much at the mention of Voldemort. She did rather miss him, if she could even miss anyone at all. “He would most likely not be so arrogant with me as he is wont to be.”
Bellatrix’ anger subsided at the mention of the Enforcer’s death. This could prove to be most… useful. Complications could sometimes be positive, she thought, rather wanting to use the word ‘pleasant side effects due to alternative ingredients’ rather than complications. She smiled down at Daphne and calmed, restoring herself to a sitting position in the chair across from the young woman.
“The term ‘complication’ has a negative connotation, Daphne. The side effect that you described is quite satisfactory, and is a remarkable discovery,” she said, her tone of voice high with amusement. “It can be used to our advantage, I assure you. There’s a certain thrill in using someone only to know that they will die a mere ten days later. Of course, we’ll need the potion for the ignorant plebians that we can not afford to release, as well, have you tried brewing it again, with fresh hippogriff blood?”