Disclaimer: I obviously
have no rights to these characters, nor do I make any money from them.
Author’s Notes: It’s been
some time since I’ve written fan fiction.
Thankfully my Beta Reader, Ara Kane, is still
good at editing it. I also need to thank
Nvr2Blonde for acting as a sounding board for this story.
The actual practice of Occlumency
was based heavily on Harry and Snape’s interactions
Occlumency With Aunt Bellatrix
By The Morning Starr
“I won’t allow it!”
Narcissa Malfoy stood in front of
her sister, arms crossed, her expression determined. She and Bellatrix Lestrange had been at odds since the mass break-out from
Azkaban, and Narcissa was going to stand her ground
this time. She was weary of the constant
It seemed like she rarely won these days.
“Don’t you find his answers to everything too
“On the contrary, I found them convincing,” said Narcissa.
“Everything he said made perfect sense.
Do you honestly believe him capable of such trickery?”
Bellatrix seemed to consider her
answer for a moment before speaking. The
flickering firelight cast an eerie glow on her hardened face. “No. I
believe the Dark Lord is testing him and has not told us. Nevertheless, the boy should still be
Narcissa glared at her. “The
boy has a name, Bella. And I do not
see the necessity. Besides, he hasn’t
even started his sixth year yet. He’s
Bellatrix snorted loudly. “Too young? My dear sister, he has been given a most
important assignment by the Dark Lord himself.
If he believes Draco old enough to carry out such a task, then this will
be easy for him.”
“And what exactly will be easy for him?” A voice from the dark doorway startled the
two sisters. Draco Malfoy stepped out
from the shadow that had concealed him, his pale eyes shooting back and forth
between his mother and aunt.
“Occlumency,” said Bellatrix quickly, before Narcissa
could stop her. If this had surprised Draco,
he did not show it.
“Why? I haven’t
anything to hide from the Dark Lord.”
Bellatrix laughed. It was a cold, mirthless laugh, more like a
suppressed a shudder. She would never
admit it aloud, but she found her sister quite terrifying.
on the Dark Lord?” Bellatrix scoffed.
“Impossible. His skills are
“Then what exactly would be the point in learning it?” Draco appeared bored by his aunt’s
antics. He examined his fingernails as
if they were by far more fascinating than the conversation. “Who else would want to see into my mind?”
“Snape.” Bellatrix seemed to
wait for a reaction from her nephew that would never come.
Draco raised a pale eyebrow.
“Still don’t trust him, Aunt Bellatrix?” He strode over to his father’s favorite arm
chair and sat down as if it was a throne.
“I’ve never seen any reason not to.
And Father always trusted him.”
“Yes, and look where your father is now.”
Suddenly Draco was on his feet, wand drawn and aimed at Bellatrix’s throat. “Do
not speak of my father in that tone.”
Narcissa clapped her hand over her
mouth to keep from saying anything.
These days it seemed best to stay out of things.
“Oh, my dear Draco,” said Bellatrix
mockingly. “You’re going to have to keep
those emotions in check if you’re going to be a successful Occlumens.” She smirked.
It was the same smirk she’d worn when she first showed Narcissa her Dark Mark and informed her that some people just had what it took. Narcissa had not
been impressed; she had no intention of marring her own beauty in such a
“I still don’t see the point,” said Draco as he resumed his
seat. He lowered his wand but did not
put it away. “As I said before, I see no
reason to distrust him. I suspect that
your real issue with Snape is that the Dark Lord
confides in him more than you.”
It was Draco’s turn to smirk; Bellatrix’s
expression of mingled shock and outrage was priceless. Narcissa fought the
urge to grin, an urge that faded quickly when Bellatrix
recovered and drew her own wand. Narcissa moved instinctively towards her son as her sister
began to rant.
“How dare you!” she spat. “You, who
have only just received your Dark Mark! Your loyalty has not even been tested
yet! You have no right to speak to me in
that manner when you have not even begun to serve the Dark Lord.” She took a breath as if to steady herself and smiled, but there was not even a hint of
kindness in it. “Fine. Leave your mind open to those who may want to
pry. Do not complain to me when they try
to steal your glory.”
Narcissa stiffened slightly; it
was time to put her foot down. Bellatrix had now gone too far. Narcissa knew she could
not have prevented Draco from joining the Dark Lord, eager as he was to follow
his father, but she would sooner live as a Muggle
than allow him to succumb to the kind of distrust and paranoia that seemed to
plague every Death Eater, Bellatrix especially.
“That’s enough, Bellatrix. He doesn’t want to learn. You may leave now.” Narcissa walked
towards the doorway in hopes that her sister would follow.
“Wait.” Narcissa turned at the sound of her son’s voice. Draco was still sitting in his father’s
chair, his expression thoughtful. “You
would teach me, I presume, Aunt Bellatrix?”
Although it was obvious that Bellatrix
was eager to have Draco learn, she remained expressionless. “I would.”
“I suppose it could be useful,” said Draco, as if he was
talking about something as simple as learning to tie his shoes. “When would we begin?”
“Draco, I do not think—” began Narcissa,
but her son stopped her.
“Mother, I do not think you have any say in this. I have the Dark Mark now. You can no longer treat me like a child.”
Narcissa blinked hard. She would not cry in front of Bellatrix as she had at Snape’s
house. “You are still underage,” she
said through clenched teeth.
“I AM A DEATH EATER!” Draco yelled, jumping to his feet once
more. He ran his hand through his pale
hair, and Narcissa thought that he already looked
older than he ought.
When he spoke again, he was quiet. “If Occlumency will
assist me in serving the Dark Lord, then I shall learn it. Aunt Bellatrix, I
expect you will send word when we are to begin lessons. Now if you will excuse me, I have other business
to attend to.” He gave Narcissa a dutiful kiss on her cheek and left the room
“I hope you’re pleased with yourself, Bella,” said Narcissa, her hand trembling slightly.
“I will be, once the boy learns Occlumency. You may place your trust in Severus Snape, my dear sister,
but I know Death Eaters a bit better than you.
Mark my words: Snape will try to take your
son’s glory if Draco is not prepared to prevent it.” Bellatrix, having
obviously accomplished what she’d set out to do, left the drawing room, her
dark cloak billowing behind her.
Narcissa would rather Snape take all the glory, if it meant that her son would
still be alive when it was all said and done.
The thought of losing Draco was unbearable; she clutched at her heart,
and, when she was certain that Bellatrix had left the
manor, collapsed on the floor, muffling her sobs in the sleeve of her robes.
Draco hadn’t known what to expect, but it certainly hadn’t
been this. He stood in his father’s
study across from his aunt, and watched helplessly as thoughts raced unbidden across
his mind. Random childhood memories of
no importance, events that he probably would not have remembered on his own
came flooding to the forefront of his mind so quickly that he hardly had time
to register what they were. Bellatrix, meanwhile, seemed to speed through these
thoughts as if finding them of no consequence.
Somehow he knew that she was trying to find something that would entice
him to stop her, even though he had no clue how he
would do that when the time came.
The memories continued to come and go rapidly. His mother fussing over him before he got on
the Hogwarts Express before his first year… meeting Pansy Parkinson for the
first time in the Slytherin common room… Blaise
sneaking Firewhiskey into their dormitory during
their fifth year… his father berating him for allowing that Mudblood
Granger to beat him in every subject…
The next thing Draco knew, he had collapsed onto the
pointed her wand at her robes, which Draco realized were on fire, and
extinguished the flames.
“Did you do that on purpose?” she asked.
He shook his head in reply, too short of breath to
speak. He had not realized that Occlumency would drain him so quickly.
“You would do better to focus your energy on repelling me
using only your mind. I was able to
block all of the curses you hurtled at me, and I won’t appreciate being set on
Nodding in lieu of actually having to talk, Draco pushed
himself off of the desk with some effort.
He realized when he was standing again that Bellatrix
had just examined a great deal of his childhood.
Things were a lot
simpler then, he thought to himself with a touch of bitterness.
“I see now that you were too pampered to feel much emotion about
your childhood,” said Bellatrix. “I’ll have to find something else. Legilimens!”
Draco took a sharp breath, fighting the images that raced in
through his mind. He was seven, and
hiding a stuffed toy snake in the bottom of his wardrobe… he was eleven and
Harry Potter was refusing his offer of friendship… he was fourteen and
grimacing at the sight of Pansy’s garish pink dress robes… the Weasley girl was hexing him in Umbridge’s
office… Pansy was stroking his hair, reassuring him that it would be—
Enough, Draco told
himself, exhaling and managing to close off that last memory before his aunt
had a chance to see all of it. She would
never let him live that one down.
“Why was that last one so important?” Bellatrix
asked, eyeing him suspiciously.
“For reasons that do not concern you,” he told her, trying
not to pant.
Bellatrix laughed, which irritated
Draco to no end. She had a tendency to
laugh at things that weren’t remotely funny, and he suspected that all her
years in the company of Dementors were to blame. He was glad those creatures weren’t guarding
Draco wiped a bit of perspiration from his forehead. They been at it for some time, and he
wondered if he was really up to the task.
Better start making some progress
soon, he thought. There were too
many memories he would rather she not have access to.
Bellatrix realized this as well,
and it seemed to serve only to make her more keen on
seeing them. “You seemed to be able to
close your mind once she
appeared. Who is she, Draco? Your girlfriend? Is she a pureblood?”
Still unsure if Bellatrix was
performing Legilimency during these little breaks,
Draco thought it best at the moment to be fairly truthful.
“I suppose you could call her my girlfriend, and of course
she’s a pureblood. Don’t insult me, Aunt
He looked across his father’s desk at his aunt. Her looks were quite different from his
mother’s unblemished beauty. And unlike
his mother’s usually stoic demeanor, his aunt seemed to radiate instability and
hysteria. Indeed, in the dim light of
his father’s study, she looked downright creepy.
She studied him for a moment, and Draco was certain she was
trying to find something inside his head.
He concentrated his thoughts on nothingness. After another moment, she blinked, narrowed
her eyes at him, and smirked.
“Draco, I see no reason for you to hide your schoolboy relationships from me.” She said the word schoolboy as if that was all he was, as if he did not have the same
mark burned into his arm as she did. “Unless, of course, you feel real affection for her. Then I must caution you: emotions will
prevent you from being a skilled Occlumens. And Snape will use
that to his advantage.”
As if you won’t,
Draco thought resentfully. He had never
much cared about his aunt when he was growing up. He, of course, never saw her while she was
imprisoned, and his mother refused to speak of her, either. Draco suspected that she did not want to be
associated with a murderous lunatic. Now
that he had spent some time with her, he didn’t blame his mother one bit.
“Let’s just finish this lesson,” said Draco. “I’ve other things that need tending to.”
He didn’t dare look at her expression as he was certain it would
only infuriate him and make him unable to properly clear his mind. Bracing himself, he said, “All right. I’m ready.”
Draco closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Yes, he cared for Pansy, but that was neither
here nor there at the moment. He was in
the service of the Dark Lord, and Pansy would just have to accept that.
Suddenly he found he was able to close off his feelings, as
if he’d just placed Pansy in a broom closet and closed the door, promising to
come back for her later. It left him
feeling quite unlike himself, as if he was standing there in someone else’s
mind, a mind where Pansy Parkinson did not exist.
Quickly, he closed others away. Blaise Zabini—one of the few boys in his year he could really talk
to. The Weasley
girl who hexed him—after all, anger was an emotion. His parents, for obvious
reasons. And Harry Potter, who
aroused more emotion than Draco would ever admit, even to himself. Yes, he’d do well to shut out his thoughts of
This time he was ready. He focused all of his mind power on a single
thought: completing his task for the Dark Lord.
He pictured it the same way he had night after night in his dreams. Dumbledore caught unaware, begging for Draco’s mercy. Draco
telling him that he was a foolish old man for thinking he could defeat the Dark
Lord. The flash of
green light. Dumbledore’s
lifeless body lying at Draco’s feet. He repeated that vision in his mind over and
“You catch on quickly, Draco.” For a moment Bellatrix
looked genuinely pleased, which actually took Draco by surprise, but the next
second it was gone. “But you’d better
choose another thought to focus on in Snape’s
presence. We’ll do it again. Legilimens!”
Draco focused on the memory of getting his Dark Mark, although
it was not exactly pleasant.
“Not good enough.
You’re a fool if you think Dumbledore can’t perform a little Legilimency himself, and then you’ll be expelled before you
can even attempt you assignment. The
Dark Lord will not excuse you from this just because you were careless enough
to let Dumbledore find out your plan. Again. Legilimens!”
He faltered for a moment.
It was difficult to focus on something mundane when the Dark Lord seemed
to permeate his every thought these days.
Using what was left of his strength, he focused on the reading he’d done
for Potions earlier that day. Three clockwise stirs, then add the powdered
bicorn horn, let simmer for two minutes over a low flame…
The room came back into focus around him. He could actually read the titles of the many
Dark Arts books on the shelf behind Bellatrix. As he focused more on the potion ingredients,
he found it easier to keep his mind on his surroundings, which struck him as
counterintuitive, but helpful.
Add one salamander
eye. The thick liquid should turn bright
orange. Stir counter-clockwise four
He chanced a look at Bellatrix,
who was staring at him intensely, a tiny grin playing at the corners of her
mouth. Without warning her expression
softened as much as it could, and the odd feeling of pressure inside Draco’s head lifted.
“Not bad for your first lesson. But you will need to learn to completely
clear your mind. If you rely on a
specific thought or memory, it will be obvious that you are hiding
something. Do you understand?”
Again, Draco only nodded.
He felt as if he could fall asleep right where he was standing. His entire body felt exhausted.
This must have been obvious, because Bellatrix
said, “It’s draining. I examined a
number of memories tonight—more than I thought I would. It gets a little easier once you’ve learned
to do it correctly.”
“This time again Thursday?” Draco asked weakly. Bellatrix agreed,
and excused herself from the study.
The next thing Draco remembered was being awakened by a
timid house-elf, who quietly suggested that he would be more comfortable in his
bed than lying there on the floor.
Three weeks after his first lesson, Draco felt as if his
ability to clear his mind had hit a plateau.
He was able to consistently keep his aunt out of his thoughts, but he
found it impossible to completely clear his mind. The best he could do was focus on some
blemish in the room or on her face and pretend that he
was so superficial that the blemish consumed his thoughts. This strategy only gave Bellatrix
another reason to mock his abilities and enrage her when he focused on all of
the lines on her face. She retaliated by
prying her way into a memory of him sneaking off with Pansy to snog. Not one to
take things like that lying down, Draco let her catch a glimpse of a memory of
his father telling Draco’s mother that Bellatrix was a few ingredients shy of the full potion.
Despite his recent stagnation during lessons, he found that Occlumency had other practical uses. Draco found that clearing his head of all
thoughts and emotion before sleeping allowed for a restful night, which was
preferable to the endless tossing and turning he’d done when his mind was
filled with plans on how to accomplish his task for the Dark Lord.
He now also found it easy to shut away certain emotions at
will. This new skill would come in handy
the next time he had to go in front of the Dark Lord, as Death Eaters were
experts in sensing fear and apprehension and used it to their advantage
whenever it suited them. Draco tired of
their endless taunting and jeering at him.
And if one more person called him “ickle,”
Draco had a few curses lined up in return.
He’d show them ickle.
Standing in the usual place in his father’s study, Draco
checked the clock behind him. She would
be there any moment. He used what little
time he had left to attempt once more to completely clear his mind. Focusing on nothingness turned out to be a
great deal harder than he’d suspected.
The closest he’d gotten to it was focusing on the word nothing rather than on nothing itself.
He felt like he was getting closer to completely clearing
his mind, but then he realized he was thinking about the process of clearing
it, and that meant there was still something there. What would happen when he was finally able to
do it, he wondered. Was his mind
actually capable of being blank?
Before he had time to ponder this further, the door to the
study creaked open and the same timid house-elf who’d suggested he not sleep on
the floor three weeks ago was announcing his aunt’s arrival. Bellatrix did not
wait for the house-elf to finish and nearly caught the creature’s crooked nose
in the door as she closed it.
She wordlessly swept off her cloak and hung it on the stand
by the door with a flick of her wand.
There was no greeting. Nothing was said at all. Bellatrix strode to
her usual place on the other side of the desk, and said, “Legilimens!”
He and Pansy were holding hands, walking silently along a
deserted corridor… he knew where that memory would lead and he was determined
not to let his aunt get there. He could
see Pansy’s features clearly, her soft brown hair, the twinkle in her eyes. This meant that Bellatrix
was firmly inside this memory. Draco
tried desperately to focus on the dark bags under Bellatrix’s
eyes, but when he did, he felt her push harder into his memory. She was not going let him take the easy way
Clearing his mind was impossible. He and Pansy continued along the corridor in
his memory. Draco struggled and without
even thinking, he shouted, “Protego!”
Bellatrix’s eyes widened in
horror, and Draco’s mind was suddenly flooded with
memories that were not his. A ragged
woman shuddered as a Dementor hovered next to her
cell… a beautiful young woman was writhing in agony as the Dark Mark was burned
into her forearm… a plump woman who Draco thought looked vaguely familiar was
convulsing on the floor while the masked woman who was torturing her laughed
hysterically… a jet of green light hit a random Muggle
in the back and he fell limp on the ground… the Dark Lord was standing above
the dark-haired woman, his eyes blazing red, his wand lifted…
It took Draco a few moments to realize that the scream was
his own. He was on the floor across from
Bellatrix, who was leaning on the desk, panting. Her dark eyes were disturbingly alight.
“You thought yourself ready to peer into my mind, did you, boy?” she panted, and
laughed weakly. “Were you scared, Draco,
to see what’s in store for you? Now you
see that service to the Dark Lord is a bit more challenging than the pampered
life you’ve lived thus far.”
Draco said nothing.
Words would take too much energy, and he needed it all to control the
shaking he couldn’t seem to stop.
Bellatrix summoned her cloak. “I think we’ve finished, here, Draco. If you are too weak to clear your mind, then
I am wasting my time. Snape will know you’re hiding the details of your plans
from him, but I suppose it won’t matter as long as you can keep him from seeing
what they are. If he sees how you’re
planning to accomplish this, he will
make sure that you fail. He wants you to fail so that he can be
elevated above the rest of us.”
She wrapped herself in her cloak. “Perhaps you’ll get to see some of his memories. Be sure to tell me all about them. I haven’t taunted Snape
in some time, and I could do with the fun.
I’ll show myself out; don’t trouble yourself.” She left the study with a bitter laugh.
Unsure if his knees would support him, he tried to stand,
relying on the desk for support. Though
he had just seen Bellatrix’s past, he could not help
but feel like it was also his future. Was
he ready for it? It was one thing to
talk about cursing Potter and getting rid of Mudbloods,
but that plump woman that his aunt had tortured… he shook his head and tried
unsuccessfully to rid his memory of her expression. He’d seen illustrations of people under the Cruciatus Curse. Now
he realized that the drawings did not even begin to capture the amount of pain
it caused. Was he capable of inflicting
I suppose I have to be,
he thought. I don’t really have a choice anymore, do I?
And for the first time since the Dark Mark had been burnt
into his arm, Draco Malfoy was truly scared.