A Son's Duty
Disclaimer in first chapterCrossing: Harry Potter▬o▬
It was dark and dank, smelling of urine and unwashed bodies. The walls were black with the dirt and grit of ages past, even the morning light seemed yellow and sickly through the browned windows lining the corridor. Guttering torches illuminated where the sunlight didn't, orange flames gasping for oxygen like so many landlocked fish.
His steps, and the steps of the two guards who accompanied him, were muffled as he strode swiftly down the passageway. They led him down one hall and then another, through an entire warren of corridors and walkways. He did not need their assistance to find his way, his few visits here were burned onto his memory, scorching imprints remained, feeding his nightmares.
Though he did not see any Dementors, he felt their presence. Knew their nearness in the soft mutterings of damned souls, huddled like small heaps of trash in the farthest corners of their cells. Any closer and he would be reliving his own worst memories; already he felt the color, the vitality, being sucked from him.
He had been on the island for fifteen minutes, inside the fortress of Azkaban for ten, and already he was regretting his decision to come.
At last they reached their destination, a small cell separated from the others by an additional twenty feet, as all Death Eaters were. Connor inspected the cell calmly, seeing evidence of it's occupants increasing madness in the scribbling murals on the walls.
Muggles died at the hands of an encroaching army of robed figures, a grinning snake hovering in the sky above them as it wrapped around a human skull. The dirty red color of the drawings added to the overall effect, leaving Connor wishing he had forgone breakfast.
"Why haven't these been cleaned off?"
His quiet voice made the two guards jump. They exchanged wary glances before one stepped forward to answer, "We have, it's just... She redoes them every time we do and as they're done in her own, ah, blood - "
"The healers thought it would be best if we didn't give her anymore incentive to open her old wounds," the other interrupted smoothly. Silence was the boy's only response and the guards exchanged wary glances once more before stepping back to allow the teen some privacy.
Connor crouched down, fixing his eyes on a likely-looking bundle of rags underneath the grinning snake. He knelt there unmoving until his escort began to fidget and shift, uncomfortable at such prolonged proximity to one of their most insane inmates.
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the huddled mass of rags began to shift. A pale arm separated itself from the cloth and scrabbled about on the ground as if looking for something. Dirty fingernails pried a small bit of pebble loose and flung it at the bars. The small missile fell short, skittering across the ground a ways before catching against an uneven bit of floor.
"Mother," Connor murmured.
The arm stilled for a moment before their was a sudden flurry of motion, between one second and the next the bundled pile of rags-and-woman was pressed up against the bars of her prison, inches from the boy. Mad eyes peered up at him from a thick tangle of black hair, a red tongue licking cracked and slightly bloody lips.
"My boy...." Bellatrix Lestrange's voice was cracked and harsh, nothing like the smooth husky tone she had once been so proud of, "My son
"I'm here." His face remained impassive, there was no point in recriminating her, no point in talking to her at all except to reassure her that he still lived. He didn't even know why
he still visited this creature who had once been his mother, but every year on the anniversary of her incarceration he found himself here.
She reached through the bars and he grabbed her hand, turning her arm over to inspect the long scratches that lined the inside of her forearm and wrist. Dried blood encrusted the pale skin where dirt did not. He ran his palm over the rough patches of scab before wrapping his fingers around hers, ignoring the edge of black covered by her sleeve.
Her gaze followed his unerringly and her free hand tore the material away from her skin. Bellatrix grinned, cracking her lips still further and framing her teeth in crimson. She began to rock back and forth, one hand still firmly in his while the other traced the outline of her pitch-black Mark.
"He calls," she crooned softly. Black eyes rose to meet blue, her insanity only adding to the intensity of her gaze, "He returns
Connor gave her the only answer he could, "Yes mother, he does."
Lightning quick, her mood changed: bright smile transforming into haggard despair. Her eyes filled with tears that flowed down, leaving traces of cleanliness before dripping onto the floor. "Why doesn't he come for me
? I am loyal! I am loyal still
! My Lord, my Lord, why does he not come for me?"
She wept like a child and all he could do was hold her through the bars of her prison as she called for the one whose service had led her there. He didn't know why he still came, why he visited this creature who had once been his mother, but he knew this time next year he would be back again.▬o▬