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[personal profile] ofscarletwoman
Author: Tarie
Title: We Sisters Three
Rating: PG-13
Character(s): Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa Black
Summary: "A sister is both your mirror - and your opposite." -Elizabeth Fishel
Warnings: language, brief Wizarding violence?
Author's Notes: Thanks to my betas, [livejournal.com profile] chanond and [livejournal.com profile] emerald_dragon8, for being so thorough and helpful! Written for [livejournal.com profile] osmalic as a pinch hit for [livejournal.com profile] hp_holidaygen. Prompt was: "Anything about the relationship of the Black sisters would be interesting, especially with all of them head-strong in their own way." Mirror lore nicked from 'round the 'net.
**

I began as various metals, malleable and ductile, with lustre envied by far inferior elements. Alloyed, joined, with copper and tin, I came into being, made by Tirunelveli experts. My creation took months and I fetched an exceptional price, purchased by a goodly lord. I became part of his home, a grand and cavernous stone fortress as sturdy and solemn as its master. As generation through generation passed through the home, I noted a common thread amid ever-changing times: many believed that owning me, or one like me, brought luck. My polished, reflective surface was not for bringing luck. No part of me, from my surface to my elaborate gilded frame, brought luck. I brought nothing save for what simply was.

Some might have called it truth.

No clouds wafted about my inner surface, revealing shapes or figures to those who gaze upon me. I would neither act as liaison between life and death nor this world and another. At no time would I show spirits of loved ones or angels or demons to the hopeful or the fearful.

I would show nothing save for what simply was, for that was my purpose.
*

i. 1957
The soul could become trapped in the mirror, causing death.

*

Three girls, pale as ghosts and as different in both appearance and temperament as night and day, stared into the mirror. The eldest, Bellatrix, looked for all the world a small warrior, dark and determined as she held the youngest up to the reflective surface. Narcissa was the baby's name, and she was all elegance and etherealness although she was barely more than two. Her blonde hair shone about her plump, rosy face as though she wore a halo, and she leant closer to her reflection, reaching out to touch it as the middle girl shrieked.

"No, Bella, no!" Andromeda had something of a speech impediment, which Healer Avaris assured Mrs Black would be gone after the next round of extensive potions treatments. As she could not correctly pronounce certain letters, her sister's name sounded like "Bewwa!" and Bellatrix threw back her head and laughed.

"No, Bewwa, nooooo," she cried, a smile far too cruel for it to be comfortable on the face of a child jutting the expanse of her face from cheek-to-cheek. "What's the matter, Andy?" One dark brow lifted challengingly and Bellatrix bent over the marble counter, pushing Narcissa closer still.

"Mudder said she couwd be twapped," Andromeda said insistently, tugging on one of her older sister's dark plaits.

The smile gave way to thin lips and narrowed eyes. "Don't," Bellatrix said savagely, wrenching her sister's hand from the end of her plait, "touch me." Malice glittered in her dark irises and Andromeda's small face pinched up.

"Ow ow owwww!" Andromeda wailed as Bellatrix's fingers applied pressure to her smaller, skinnier fingers.

Narcissa, who had been cooing at her own reflection, twisted in the fold of her sister's arm. Blonde curls bounced up and down as her head tipped toward one sister and then the other. Without so much as a sigh, she turned back to her reflection, one tiny, pudgy hand slapping against the shimmering metal.

"Mother," Bellatrix said archly, flinging Andromeda's hand away, "says lots of things. Most of them are to scare us into not doing things she doesn't want us to do. I do what I want, and you're a ninny who does what she's told."

Andromeda whimpered, wiping her hand against her robes. "I'm not a ninny," she whispered.

And Narcissa laughed.

ii. 1963
During sleep or illness, mirrors were covered so the wandering soul could not become trapped, unable to return to its body.

*

They stopped whispering when their sister appeared in the doorway, her eyes widening.

Holding the tapestry against her chest, Narcissa looked from Bellatrix to Andromeda to the mirror and back again guiltily. "I can put it back up," she offered quietly.

Bellatrix sneezed.

Andromeda shook her head. "No, Cissy. It's all right." Crossing to the counter, she rocked back on her heels, head tilting back as she surveyed the expanse of the mirror. "You couldn't do it on your own, anyway."

"Bella could help me," Narcissa said automatically, and Andromeda frowned.

It was plain to see she was bothered that Narcissa would automatically defer to Bellatrix for help rather than her.

"Bella," Andromeda said with uncharacteristic snideness, "won't help you unless she gets something from it."

Bellatrix gave a toothy grin.

"What do you mean 'she gets something from it'?" Narcissa's brow furrowed as she set the awkwardly-folded tapestry on the floor.

"I mean she won't do something without getting something in return."

Behind Narcissa's back, Bellatrix presented Andromeda with a very rude gesture, indeed. Andromeda gasped and Bellatrix laughed, sneezed three times, and then quickly affected a blank stare when Narcissa turned round to see what the fuss was all about.

"Andy! What's wrong with Bella?"

Narcissa looked genuinely concerned for her sister, wringing her hands as tears welled up in her big blue eyes. From behind her, Bellatrix winked and Andromeda stomped her foot.

"What's wrong with Bella is that she hasn't any soul, any soul at all, and she's a wicked, mean shrew! I don't care if she is ill; she's a horrid, wicked, mean shrew!"

Bursting into tears, Narcissa bent over to retrieve the tapestry. Andromeda watched, mouth agape, as she hauled herself atop the counter, shaking the tapestry out as she stood. The hem of her dressing gown swayed back and forth as she rose to the tips of her toes.

"Don't muss with that tapestry. Cissy, get down from there!" Andromeda said sensibly, though her warbling pitch betrayed her calm facade.

"Cissy, get down from there," Bellatrix mocked before shoving the backs of Narcissa's knees roughly, causing her to begin to fall. Snatching Narcissa up in her arms at the last moment, Bellatrix pirouetted, cackling. She spun and spun and spun, throwing off Andromeda's attempts to stop her and ignoring Narcissa's pleas. Bellatrix didn't stop until she was good and ready, depositing Narcissa on the floor in a heap as a large sneeze pushed its way out of her lungs.

Andromeda crouched down to comfort her sister.

And Bellatrix laughed.

iii. 1967
After a familial death, mirrors were turned to face the wall or covered to prevent the soul from becoming caught in the mirror, waylaying its travels home to the afterlife.

*

"Hurry up; I've to get ready too, you know," a voice, self-important and impatient, said from somewhere behind her.

"The bath belongs to all of us, Bella," a second voice added gently.

Removing the washcloth from her face, Bellatrix slowly lifted her chin, staring at the reflection of herself and her two sisters in the mirror.

"Fuck off. I was here first." Wiping the corner of her mouth with the cloth, Bellatrix tipped her head, examining the bags under her eyes. Disinterestedly she poked at the discoloured skin sagging under one, and then the other. She reached for her wand, presumably to perform some sort of cosmetic charm, but then changed her mind and smoothed down her hair instead.

"Language, Bella," Andromeda said, eyes rolling as she budged up to the counter beside her.

"You're not Mother," Narcissa said automatically, sidling up to Bellatrix's other side. Then she winced and ducked her head, her long hair falling like a curtain around her face, concealing it.

"Obviously not, as I'm quite alive." Turning, Bellatrix pressed her arse against the counter's edge and looked at her sisters. "Mother will be piecemeal in no time at all. Wormsmeat. Creepy-crawlies will feed on her flesh and lay their–"

"Shut up!" Andromeda snapped. "SHUT UP!"

Choking, Narcissa stood tall, moving between Bellatrix and Andromeda. Were she to lean to the side to gain a clear view of the mirror, she would have seen herself looking volatile and resplendent and in control, younger but just as calculating as her eldest sister, younger but just as determined and spirited as the middle sister.

"Mother isn't going in the ground; she's going in the mausoleum, you daft harpy," she said coldly.

"That's enough, Bellatrix," Andromeda added. "Finish cleaning up; the memorial begins at half-three."

"Stone tomb or terrene slab – whichever you must, Mother will soon be nothing but bones and duuuuust," Bellatrix said in a sing-song voice.

"You're horrid," Narcissa said.

And, mirthlessly, helplessly, Andromeda laughed.

iv. 1972
Breaking a mirror also broke the soul of the one who broke it.

*

"Happy Christmas, Cissy," Bellatrix cooed. Picking up the silver-handled brush from beside the sink, she handed it to her stunned sister.

"Bella. I wasn't expecting– you've–" Narcissa said faintly, her eyes roaming up and down her sister's form. Bellatrix was thinner than she had been in years, her cheeks hollowed and her mouth twisted in some horrible sneer. Though her arms were covered from wrist to shoulder, Narcissa somehow knew her sister's skin was no longer pristine and pale beneath the woolen robes.

"Rodolphus is waiting for me; I shan't stay long," Bellatrix said airly, adopting the tone of an overbooked socialite, despite being anything but. "We've things to do, but I had to see you, Cissy, before I left."

"Where are you going?" Narcissa set the brush down, unused.

"I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." Giving her an outrageous wink, Bella wielded the brush as though it were a wand, pointing it at Narcissa's chest. "Avada Kedavra," she mouthed, and then threw her hands up skyward, adopting an innocent air. The brush clattered on the tiles, and Bellatrix shook her head in mock-admonishment. "Oopsie!" A beat, and her cackling, pealing laughter bounced off the mirror from wall to wall.

"Really. Where are you going?" Placing one hand on her hip, Narcissa looked at her sister sharply.

"Never you mind," Bellatrix spat, sobering. "I came to talk to you, sister dear, about Lucius Malfoy. It's important."

"Lucius Malfoy?" The corners of Narcissa's mouth twitched. "What interest do you have in–"

Just then a breathless voice rang out from the doorway. "Cissy, there you are!"

Andromeda rushed to her sister's side, and then froze as she noticed Bellatrix there as well.

"Well, well. Look what the kneazle drug in," Bellatrix drawled. "Haven't–"

"Shut up," Andromeda hissed, grabbing hold of Narcissa's arm. "Cissy, I've not got time–"

"What's the matter, Andy? The Ministry wise up and sack your sanctimonious, do-gooding arse?" Bellatrix interjected, thrusting an arm between her sisters to separate them.

"One more word, Bella, and I swear I could have at least six Aurors here who'd be most interested in you and your husband's little–"

"Don't," Bellatrix said evenly, "threaten me, Andromeda. I've no soul, remember? Everything I am and everything I'll ever be is thanks to the greatest–"

"Shut your mouth. Shut it! SHUT IT!" Narcissa broke in, pressing her palms to her temples.

"No, don't," Andromeda countered. "Go on, Bella. Keep talking. I'm listening."

"Always the one to live vicariously through others. Tsk, tsk." Feigning disinterest, Bellatrix buffed her nails against the lapel of her robe.

"I'm pregnant," Andromeda said abruptly.

Narcissa blinked. "What?"

"With whom?" Bellatrix sneered. "Last Father told me, he'd banned you from seeing that Muggle. Have you found yourself a good, boring, pureblood at the Ministry? Does he bend you over your desk, over your in-tray, giving it to you amongst memos and stale scones?"

Ignoring Bellatrix, Andromeda turned to Narcissa, clasping their hands together. "Father's blasted me off the tapestry."

"Why would he do that?" Narcissa asked slowly, her shoulders visibly stiffening.

"Because it's the Muggle's child, you stupid arse!" Bellatrix shrieked, thrusting her hand inside her robes. Producing her wand, she waved it about wildly. "I'll do more than blast you off the tapestry, you blood traitor!"

Andromeda backed away, Narcissa standing between her and Bellatrix.

"Bella, no!" Narcissa cried, lunging forward to yank Bellatrix's elbow down as green light began to spill from the tip of her wand. The light narrowly missed Andromeda's shoulder, hitting the centre of the mirror. The force of the spell's blow blew a chunk of metal out of the middle. Small cracks from the pressure began to branch out, the cracks creeping out toward the edges like a spider. Smoke rose in the air, green and grey and gloomy.

Coughing, Andromeda moved toward the door as Bellatrix dug the tip of her wand into Narcissa's throat.

"Say it," she ordered, applying more pressure as Andromeda fumbled for the door knob.

Narcissa's eyes rounded, watering from the pain and the smoke. Then she said the last thing she would ever say to her sister Andromeda. "A blood traitor is no sister of mine."

"Good," Bellatrix said approvingly, releasing Narcissa from her grasp with a hard shove. "We'll be coming for you and your Muggle some day, Andy, Rodolphus and I. You always were a ninny, weren't you?"

Andromeda said nothing, slamming the door as she left.

And Bellatrix laughed.

v. 1998
Grinding the shattered shards into dust prohibited shattered reflections from being seen again.

*

Her husband was imprisoned.

Her eldest sister was insane.

Her other sister was newly dead, by their eldest sister's hand.

Her son, also, was newly dead. Delivered to her doorstep earlier that morning in pieces.

As she looked into the mirror, one she had not looked upon in years, Narcissa saw herself split apart at the seams. Her life was anything but lucky; she had nothing to lose any longer. No true family, no true self.

Perhaps Bellatrix had been wrong years before.

Narcissa felt like the ninny.

Her wand felt weightless between her fingers; though she knew it was not.

A swish, a flick, and another swish was all it took for amber light to come rushing out of her wand, engulfing the mirror in mist and flame. The light turned blue and then orange. Particles of dust began to rise, wafting about the room until she breathed in more dust than oxygen.

Blinking through the particle-heavy haze, Narcissa saw the mirror was no more. In its absence was a gilded frame that simply was.

And Narcissa laughed.

Date: 2007-01-02 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emerald-dragon8.livejournal.com
You know I adore this, so there's no point going into it again.

But I re-read it and now I love it more. It's amazing the different perspective you get on a fic when you're not trying to find errors in it. :D

Date: 2007-01-15 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ofscarletwoman.livejournal.com
Thank you VERY much! <3333333

And :)) I know exactly what you mean. I rarely re-read anything I've written until MONTHS AND MONTHS have passed because of that very reason!

Date: 2007-01-02 12:29 pm (UTC)
ext_7700: (Default)
From: [identity profile] swatkat24.livejournal.com
Oh, this is gorgeous! I love the repitition 'and [someone] laughed', and the way Narcissa is always in the middle.

Date: 2007-01-15 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ofscarletwoman.livejournal.com
Eeee, thank you! :D :D I really like the repetition device in fic for some reason. It's been a while since I used it.

Date: 2007-01-02 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kethlenda.livejournal.com
I love this! Great characterizations of all three, and the mirror tying the scenes together.

Date: 2007-01-15 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ofscarletwoman.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! :D Thanks for taking the time to read and let me know what you thought. ;)

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