The Sugar Quill
Author: The Morning Starr (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Occlumency With Aunt Bellatrix  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: I obviously have no rights to these characters, nor do I make any money from them

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 in OotP.

 

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 arguments.

 

It seemed like she rarely won these days.

 

“Don’t you find his answers to everything too convenient?”  Bellatrix demanded.

 

“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 taught.”

 

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 too young.”

 

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 shriek.  Narcissa suppressed a shudder.  She would never admit it aloud, but she found her sister quite terrifying.

 

“Use Occlumency on the Dark Lord?”  Bellatrix scoffed.  “Impossible.  His skills are unmatched.”

 

“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 manner.

 

“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 silently.

 

“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.

 

~*~*~

 

Legilimens!

 

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 desk.  Bellatrix 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 fire again.”

 

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 his father.

 

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 Bellatrix.”

 

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 Potter.

 

Legilimens!

 

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 over until…

 

“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 times…

 

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 out tonight.

 

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…

 

“NOOOOOO!”

 

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 such pain?

 

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.

 

~end~

//
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