Who: Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius Malfoy
Where: Parkinson Estate
Summary: Bella and Lucius talk... plans are made...
Lucius frowned at the piece of parchment in front of him. Things weren't going nearly as quickly as he had hoped and, while the Parkinson Estate was nice enough, he longed to be able to return to Britain and stop hiding like some sort of common criminal.
Giving a slight sigh, he put the parchment down and glanced around the room he was seated in. It was a study, one that he had claimed for himself, and he found that he was spending far too much time in it. Azkaban had caused him to find any sort of confinement stifling. Yet, he knew he had no choice but to remain where he was.
Not much longer, he told himself, a sneer passing over his lips as he thought of the plans that were to come. Soon I will have the entire world cowering before me.
Bellatrix cracked open the door to the room that she knew her brother in law was in, the one that he was always in, no matter what time of day she had to go looking for him.
She rapped on the moulding around the door’s jamb lightly, to be polite if for no other reason, and strode to stand just inside the room, slamming the door with the hands she had clasped behind her back just hard enough to make him jump. She smirked, slightly amused with her action. “Good evening, Lucius,” she said in a voice still tinged with the raspiness that all the screaming in Azkaban had caused.
Lucius frowned at his sister-in-law, keeping his head high even as his heartbeat raced in his chest. "Bella," he replied evenly, motioning to the chair across from him. He wasn't certain if she would accept the seat, he wasn't certain about much of anything when it came to her. However, it was only polite to offer.
The smirk hadn't yet faded from Bellatrix' face as her eyes followed his motion to the chair positioned across from him. Not one to break a streak of politeness, she sat, crossing her legs in front of her. She remained in complete silence with him for several lingering moments before she announced a little too loudly, "I have some rather," she sighed dramatically, and looked away toward a high window, "heartbreaking news, Lucius dearest." Her eyes slowly moved back to stare directly at him.
Lucius' face remained impassive as he stared at the woman seated in front of him. Had he not known her better, he would have believed her to be a perfect lady, given her pose. However, he knew Bellatrix better than most, and she was not refined in the slightest. In fact, she was the polar opposite of Narcissa, who had been a lady through and through.
Forcing thoughts of his deceased wife away, the man eyed Bellatrix carefully as she made her statement. His interest peaked for a moment, before he remembered whom he was dealing with.
She was always prone to dramatics. Out loud, he replied, "I see. And do you intend to inform me of this news, or merely flaunt the fact that you have some?" His tone remained pleasant and patient, but his meaning was clear: Tell me or leave.
Bellatrix narrowed her eyes at him, not appreciating his tone. Using what self-control she still had, she held in the hisses that she'd have afforded to anyone else. She closed her eyes arrogantly and sat up, if it were at all possible, straighter. Pursing her lips, she said, "I'm leaving." Her words, though simple and rather monotonous, were dangerous. None of them had dared to leave the Estate since their escape, but Bellatrix was feeling the nerve-wracking effects of being confined. She'd endured it more than the rest of them: she'd had enough by now. She'd resolved to herself for a week that she'd get out soon and she wasn't about to let him, or anyone else for that matter, stand in her way.
Whatever Lucius had been expecting her to say, this was clearly not it. His eyes widened slightly as his brain immediately began coming up with the million and one reasons that she should remain right where she was. However, he knew it was pointless.
Very few people could tell Bellatrix what to do, and even Lucius didn't have the arrogance to believe he was one of those people. Instead, he calmly replied, "Very well. Where?"
It was at this moment that she doubted Lucius' intelligence. Bellatrix rolled her eyes and glared at him reproachfully. "To where?" she mocked him, her lip curling slightly. "To England, Lucius. Where else?" She'd lost all of her previous composure; it was surprising she'd held it for as long as she had.
Lucius stiffened, anger washing over him. "I meant," he replied in a clipped tone, his eyes flashing dangerously, "Where are you to be staying in England? Surely you don't expect to simply Apparate there and find someone who will take you in?"
He glanced away for a brief moment, attempting to reign in his anger. He tried to remind himself that Bellatrix was not mentally well, and was prone to streaks of rage that could very well reduce the Parkinson Estate to rubble. He didn't wish to fight with her, but also felt a sense of protection and loathed to see her go running off directly into the Ministry stronghold.
Once he was certain that he wasn't going to pull his wand and submit her to a few bouts of Cruciatus for being so damned stubborn, he calmly said, "I am not going to attempt to stop you, Bella. Although I doubt I would be very successful even if I tried. I am, however, curious as to how much thought you have put into this. There are plans to be made, and I will need to be capable of contacting you."
Raising an eyebrow, he casually added, "Provided, of course, that you still intend to assist me in our goals."
Lucius continued to upset Bellatrix, his demeanor and mannerisms this evening were not at all conducive to her remaining calm. How dare he be so inquisitive? “The child, Daphne Greengrass,” she hissed, “has volunteered to let me take quarters at her parents' home.”
It was obvious that he thought that she was rushing into things, and while she did do that quite often, this was not one of those times. Bellatrix was not about to risk her life over wanting to be away from Parkinson Estate. She addressed him again, her voice still rather malicious, “Lucius, you’ll be able to find me, I assure you. I’ve thought this through, I’m not stumbling blindly into it like I’m so sure you expected me to. I’m not a mindless bint yet, Lucius Malfoy, and I don’t appreciate the insinuations that you think that I am.”
She breathed, trying to compose herself enough for her next statement, overcoming the urge to wrap her thin fingers around her wand and Crucio him for suggesting that she might not be loyal to the cause anymore. “Why would you think that my intentions are not to assist you? Do you think me not loyal? Do you think me to have softened, or to be frightened of remaining with this cause? I move because we need to start leaking back into the country to regain a stronghold, Lucius. I only hope that the other, more intelligent, ones of us recognize that this needs to happen, and follow suit.”
Lucius narrowed his eyes, any pretense of pleasantry toward the woman seated before him evaporating in an instant. "I do not appreciate such disrespect, Bellatrix, nor will I tolerate it. You pledged your loyalty to me on the night of our escape and, if you choose to revoke it, you had best find a less dangerous way of going about doing so," he hissed, his fingers wrapping around his wand as the words poured from his mouth.
"I do not believe you to be softened, nor do I doubt your loyalty so much as your means of showing it. And, while I will agree that a stronghold needs to be made in England, now is not the time to begin doing so. The Ministry is not as easily manipulated as it once was, and the Order is not in nearly as in much disarray as we had assumed it would be. To return to England now, without a clear and concise plan, is to certainly acknowledge defeat before we have even begun. And, while I find the idea of being trapped in this pitiful excuse for a Manor as deplorable as you do, I also am more than capable of seeing beyond myself and taking everything into account."
Finished, he sat back slightly and fixed the woman with a hard look. "As I have already stated, I have no intention of stopping you. However, if you insist upon treating me as your enemy, I also have no intention of assisting you should you be caught, nor will I give you a larger purpose for returning to England other than to merely sightsee."
Letting Lucius believe that he was in charge was something that Bellatrix had been quite accustomed to, but still, she would not apologize. She knew that he would not be able to continue on as strong as he had been since the breakout without her, therefore his threatening tone made her laugh, lines of amusement breaking out over her face. “You dare, Lucius, to threaten me? You would not be able continue on as you have these last few weeks without me, and you know it.”
She sat back, regaining her posture and folded her hands in her lap. She gave him an arrogant look and said, “I’m still leaving. I’m still going to remain very much a part of this cause, and, Merlin forbid, should I be caught, you will come for me, just as you did before. You can’t do this without me.” There was no doubt in Bellatrix’ raspy voice, and her eyes shone with a conviction to match her words.
Lucius merely smirked, refusing to rise to anymore of her taunts. "That, my dear," he said simply, "Is where you are wrong."
Keeping his hand on his wand, in case Bellatrix managed to lose what composure she had managed to retain thus far, he continued. "If you are captured, I will not come for you. Nor will I support anyone else who may attempt to. We cannot afford to lose anyone at this juncture, and I will not risk the cause merely because you are incapable of treading on the proper side of caution."
Leaning forward, he fixed her with a serious look. "And make no mistake, dear Bella. The only reason you were allowed to escape with the rest of us was out of some debt I may have felt I owed Narcissa. Now that we are free, you are welcome to do as you so choose. Just do not expect me to assist you as I have in the past."
Pausing for a moment, he finally added, "Now, if you are quite finished with your ramblings and will accept the fact that I am not opposed to your leaving, I would like to suggest a … task that, if you so choose to partake in it, would be beneficial to our cause."
Bellatrix sighed heavily at him, a sneer twisting her face. She hated him for patronizing her and hated him for assuming that she’d be caught: she was careful enough. Her expression lightened, though, at the thought of something that might mean breaking the monotony that her life had been since the breakout.
“A task, Lucius? Pray tell, what did you have in mind?” She was genuinely interested, but wasn’t ready to show him that, and her façade switched to that of boredom, as if it were not her that had come in to speak to him, but him who insisted on her being there.
Fortunately, Lucius had dealt enough with Bellatrix over the years to know her games and easily saw through her façade. Deciding to let it slide, he began explaining what he'd had in mind.
"In order to proceed, we must be aware, precisely, how heavily guarded Hogwarts is at the moment. Unfortunately, we have no current allies within its walls, which means we must use more … inventive means of discovering this information," he stated.
"While in England, if you find yourself able to do so, it would be extremely beneficial to the cause if you could obtain this information from us. And, of course it goes without saying to use the utmost discretion when doing so."
He hoped that was enough of a warning that she wouldn't attempt to storm the castle with merely a wand and a cry for vengeance, or some other such nonsense. Of course, she also excelled at finding inventive ways of obtaining her goals. Therefore, he gave her no further instructions, knowing she would do what she wished, regardless of what he suggested.
And, who knows? he mused. Perhaps she will actually be successful.
Bellatrix thought this over, clarity flashing through her eyes at the images of herself finding out just how to breach Hogwarts. She knew she could do it, with the right tools and the right state of mind. “Right,” she said, looking up toward him, her eyes fixed on a point behind his head. “Of course I should be able to accomplish that,” she said, “Hogwarts is rather… in shambles at the moment, is it not?” She’d only heard rumours, nothing final, that Hogwarts was still in a state of disrepair from the war.
Lucius nodded, secretly pleased that their disagreement seemed to be at an end … at least, for now. "Yes," he replied, memories from the final battle flashing in his mind's eye. "It was practically destroyed and I find it difficult to believe it has taken precedent over Hogsmeade and other places in desperate need of repair. No, no doubt whoever now fancies themselves in charge of the school has merely placed several wards around it. However, the more information we have, the better prepared we will be."
Looking at his former sister-in-law, his tone softened slightly, though still held an air of warning. "I meant what I said, Bella. I will not risk anyone else if you are re-captured. However, I am loath to lose you, as well. Do be careful."
That was as close as he was going to get to any type of sentiment for a woman who he'd never felt much for.
If any sentiment was meant in his words, Bellatrix certainly didn’t pick it up. She huffed at him, folding her arms over her chest. Exemplifying yet another of her mood swings, she narrowed her dark eyes again, turning them to meet his cold, gray ones. “Are you saying that, dear Lucius, I amble into things headlong? That I don’t think them through? I assure you that I am well able to hold my own. I thought we’d been through this.”
Bella, had she been in a right state of mind, would have realised that his words were only meant as him caring, if indeed he could care. She knew that her words would upset him, but for now, she was only focused on the fact that he upset her by insinuating that she would not do her job with the precision that only she carried. Or at least used to carry.
She rose and strode over to him, putting a hand on the arm of the chair that he was seated in and lowering her face to within inches of his. “Don’t come looking for me in the morning, Lucius dearest,” she said, her tone breathy as she placed her free hand to his face. Just as she pulled her hand away, it connected with his face again, hard enough to turn his head just a little. She stood up straight, smoothed her robes and strode from the room, slamming the door just as she’d come in.
Lucius gave a weary sigh, as one might give when attempting to reach a child on some sort of emotional level and clearly not making progress. Touching his face, he smirked slowly at the closed door. "Go right ahead and leave, Bella," he murmured to the empty room.
"If you aren't caught, at least you will finally prove yourself useful with any information you will undoubtedly obtain. And, if you are caught…" Slowly, the smirk gave way to an evil sneer.
"At least then I will be done with you once and for all."
And with that, Lucius returned to the parchments he'd been reading over, giving no more thought to the first of the Death Eaters to leave the safety of the Parkinson Estate.