Bella and Sirius take a stroll through the Elysian Fields.
Chapter 1 Elysian Fields
"Remember the pendant that grandfather Aesop gave you when you first left home?"
Bellatrix brought her hand to her bosom to feel the reassuring weight of the pendant, "He told me never to take it off. Even in Azkaban the pendant was there under a powerful "notice-me-not"spell."
"Well, it seems that pendant contained a drop of blood from one of our ancestors, one who has yet to travel the road we're on today."
"An immortal?" She asked.
"A vampire." Sirius said by way of clarification. "Eliza Shakespeare still walks the night. She will be drawn to you when you rise - listen carefully to everything she says, it's all important."
"Do I have to?" Bellatrix asked in a small voice.
Sirius helped her to her feet and said, "Walk with me a while, Bella."
"It's nice here," She said, "very clean, very green. No clutter. I won't miss that at all you know, the clutter."
He nodded then began to describe their surroundings. These are the Elysian Fields, everyone comes through here. This is the road that all must take to the next great adventure. Some people are content just to stay on the road; others will wait, as I did, for aloved one to come by. I saw Tom Riddle wandering around lost and confused, and before him your brother-in-law, Ted Tonks. Ted was leading Nymphadora down the path.
There are many forks in the road, some lead to villages, others to more urban settings.
"Which one leads to Hell?" she asked resignedly.
"You mean the fiery pit - the place of eternal pain and suffering?"
"Planning on going there?" he asked, seriously.
"Surely I won't be given achoice."
"Hate to disappoint you Bella, but there is no such place."
"I didn't say that - you see, people who are given choices are completely responsible for their actions, or inactions while on Earth. It's what they do with those choices that make them happy or miserable while they're alive."
"I deserve nothing less than misery for the pain I've inflicted on others in my short life."
"You missed an important concept just now. Think Bella."
She thought for a moment, "You said people who are given choices."
"When was the last time you felt in control of your actions?"
Bella thought hard, concentrating on the events of her life. She was amazed at the richness of detail - she could see the whole of her life. It was like watching a play, where there was someone who played her, but wasn't her. She didn't see herself as the player until she'd regressed to her days at Hogwarts.
"Hogwarts," she said, "the last time I felt in control was when we were at Hogwarts."
"Now play the memories forward."
Bella re-lived the arranged marriage with Lestrange, her wedding night, the fear, the blood, the numbness. After the nuptials the not-her character took over and developed into the sociopath legend that became Bellatrix Lestrange. Evidently Sirius was seeing her memories as well.
"The Maiden's Blood ritual," He said gently as he could, "used to bind your will to that of the man who took your innocence.
"Your mind hasn't been your own since you were a sixteen year old bride."
"Four years married to that monster, thirteen years in Azkaban, more than half my life wasted," she sobbed,"/wasted/!"
"I knew something was off after you returned from your honeymoon, you were not the Bella I knew and loved. My Bella was young and vivacious, loved a good laugh and brought joy to her friends and family. You had gone totally Goth Girl, and seemed to delight in other people's pain and suffering."
"I wish to God and the Goddess that there was a fiery pit!" she seethed.
"Not to sound trite, but the seeds we plant in life become the fruits of our afterlife. I've been ason-of-a-bitch in my time, and I mean that quite literally, but that wasn't my whole life. My shortcomings became naught but weeds that diminished some of the joy of my sojourn on Earth.
"Rudolphus and Rabastian and Tom and most of the other death-eaters, however, never knew true joy, or love, or kindness and so never planted those seeds. To them this field is a festering swamp and the thought of what lies beyond terrifies them.
"Here in the afterlife we are confronted with our own life choices. For some it is unbearably painful to watch, for others it's a pure joy. Most of us have something of a balance. As I said, parts of my life were kind of hard to look back upon, others less so. If you stop off in the next village you'll see James and Lily Potter sitting to tea with Severus Snape. They are thanking him for protecting Harry inasmuch as he could. Sev and I buried the hatchet, and not in each other's skulls, because his last act on Earth was to help my godson.
"This place is about completion. We can find closure here. I waited for you because I knew you would need a guide; I know you have a choice to make."
"You can go back. You'll be changed, outwardly you'll be a creature of the night - you'll have little resemblance to the late, un-lamented Bellatrix Lestrange. Inside you'll be Bella, the girl I lost when our grandmother agreed to the marriage contract.
"Or?" She asked.
"Or we can just keep walking, no one gets tired here."
"If I choose to go back, will you go with me?" she asked, hopefully.
He shook his head sadly, "no Bella dear, but I'll be here waiting for you when you come through again."
"Will it be a terribly long wait?" she asked.
"Time has no meaning here. Back on Earth you have just fallen and your body is being taken to an empty classroom in Hogwarts. Or it's already three day's later and you're about to wake up in your tomb. It just doesn't matter.
"You may live to be a thousand years old and I'll still be sitting here waiting for you when you return. Time isn't spent or lost or wasted here, it just /is/."
"I can stay here?" She asked.
"If you want, it's up to you."
They walked for a while. "If Igo back, will I still be evil?"
Sirius shrugged, "If that is your choice."
"But I'll be a dark creature."She mused.
"Dark is not the same as evil, Cousin. Just look at Remus Lupin. He's a beautiful human being who just happens to be a werewolf."
"Was." She said, a little sadly. "I killed him."
"Did you now?" Sirius asked, "Did you use silver?"
"Funny thing about werewolves,"he said, as if thinking aloud, "especially this close to a full-moon. Devilishly hard to kill you know."
"He's alive?" she said, incredulously.
"Yes, and in great pain. In his mind he's responsible for the death of his wife."
"But I killed my niece," she said, her lip quivering, "He must know this."
"Bellatrix Lestrange killed Nymphadora, not you."
"Sure looked like me." She said sadly.
"Remus is very confused right now, and not in his right mind - you can relate to that. You could help him, as a favor to me?"
"He'll just rip my head off and I'll be back on this road before you know it." She said with a ghost of asmile.
"Then what will you have lost?"Sirius said, grinning.
"What must I do?"
He pulled Bella into a gentle embrace, kissed her forehead and said, "Awake, and arise."