Hindsight by rhhgrt
It had all happened so quickly; she wasn’t even quite sure of how it had happened. One minute she was looking for her husband, and the next she was dead. Gone.
She wasn’t a content departed soul, She was a pissed off departed soul.
She had a kid; a new kid, not an old one. If he was older it may have hurt less when she left him, because at least he would have had time to get to know his parents. But no, not now, not after both of them had managed to get themselves killed within five minutes of each other.
What upset her the most about this whole sordid affair was that her mother had been right. She had been right in telling her not to go to the battle. She had been right in telling her that it was too dangerous for her of all people to be in the same general vicinity of Bellatrix for an extended period of time. And she had been right when she had implied that Nymphadora did not have the skill to take on Bellatrix.
And now, due to her inability to listen to her mother, she was dead. And what’s more, her son was orphaned. And, her dad was dead as well, which left her mother alone. With a three month old.
How could she have done something so stupid? Hell, she wasn’t yet entirely sure of what had just happened, let alone how she had let it happen.
She remembered stalking feverishly through the halls of Hogwarts, hoping at every step to be rewarded by the sight of her husband; she had no longer cared about fighting, she just wanted to find Remus.
It had been the tapestry. That damn bloody tapestry. Someone should take those bloody things down; the way they hid corridors, and people, was downright hazardous.
“Someone should do something about that,” she muttered to herself before realizing just how ridiculous that was.
Well, it was true after all; those tapestries could provide dangerous hiding places for people, people like her homicidal maniac of an aunt, for instance.
She buried her head in her hands. How could she have not been expecting that? Had she really been that unaware of her surroundings?
“How the hell did I manage to pass my Auror Qualification Exams?” she thought to herself. She then chided herself for thinking of such ridiculous things at a time like this.
She tried to take a deep, calming breath. It didn’t work. She then took another one. Three or four calming breaths later, she was had finally reached a level of calm which allowed her to go over what had just happened in a semi-coherent manner.
Alright, so, Bellatrix had been lurking behind the tapestry, and she had failed to notice because she was so caught up in looking for Remus. Then, she had been about three steps down the corridor—or was it four steps? Who cared?-the number of steps she had been past the tapestry didn’t matter.
Anyhow she had been—a couple of steps—past the tapestry when she heard that voice. Her voice. God how she hated that voice.
“How did mum put up with that cow for seventeen years anyway?” she asked herself, before realizing that she was once again focusing on the more unimportant aspects of the fiasco.
She forced herself once more into focus.
Bellatrix had come out from behind the tapestry and had said…something. What had she said? It seemed as if it was some sort of vital detail, but she couldn’t even begin to remember it. Well, whatever it was the she had said, the sound of Bellatrix’s voice made her freeze in her footsteps. The voices of Death Eaters weren’t supposed to make Aurors freeze in their footsteps.
She had stood frozen there, in the corridor, a couple of steps past the tapestry, when Bellatrix spoke once more. This time she remembered the words.
Those two words were so full of command and authority that she hadn’t been able to keep herself from turning around and staring with dread into those hateful eyes; it was almost as though she was under the Imperius Curse, although she knew that wasn’t the case.
She turned and stared into those almost black eyes. The woman’s face was alight with a spiteful, vindictive smile, and she was taking slow, measured steps to the place where her niece stood, glued to the floor.
“Such an obedient little girl,” Bellatrix said in a mocking tone of voice, coming so close that their faces nearly touched. “Your mummy seems to have taught you obedience very well.”
Bellatrix’s mention of her mother bought her back to her senses on a certain level; because she then heard herself mumble “Don’t you talk about my mother.”
She winced to herself through the sound of Bellatrix’s mocking laughter; that retort had seemed weak and pathetic, even to her own ears.
“Don’t you talk about my mother!” Bellatrix mocked, her voice assuming a high, dreadful baby-ish tone.
At that moment, she hated Bellatrix more than ever. She wanted to take her wand and strike that woman down where she stood. But she couldn’t. She couldn’t lift her wand arm to cast the curse. Her mind was too blank to even summon the power she would have needed to cast said curse.
Bellatrix smirked once more, knowing that she was winning this little battle.
“I’m surprised that mummy let her little baby come out to play tonight. After all, she must have known that big, scary Bella would be here waiting for you,” she said, still with that horrible baby voice.
What killed her—both in the moment and in her miserable present—was that Bellatrix had been right; her mother had warned her against going and she hadn’t listened.
Honestly, why did she have this incessant need to be so constantly contrary? It wouldn’t have killed her to acknowledge that once, just once, her mother may have been right. In fact, it would have done the opposite of killing her; it would have saved her.
"I told you not to speak about my mother,” she repeated. This time, her voice had taken on a stronger, more authoritative tone. Her wand arm seemed to have regained its ability to move. Bellatrix sensed this shift, and narrowed her eyes accordingly.
“Quite the broken record, aren’t you girl?” she sneered “Can’t say anything else? I would have thought that Aurors would be equipped with a rather basic amount of vocabulary.”
That was where she finally managed to latch out. Unfortunately, Bellatrix had so riled her up that her aim was completely off. Instead of hitting Bellatrix, the curse’s intended target, it instead hit the stone wall, and continued to ricochet down the corridor.
The bouncing of the spell from wall to wall was quickly joined by the sound of Bellatrix’s laughter at her admittedly pathetic attempt at self-defense.
Pathetic, girl. It must run in your family. Your filthy father couldn’t defend himself much better than you.”
Her blood was boiling. This time she threw a curse in earnest, and this time, it reached its target.
Bellatrix screeched in surprise and jumped backwards as the curse hit her. Bellatrix narrowed her eyes; they weren’t playing anymore.
Curses flew back and forth between the two women, some hit, and some missed. What mattered was that she was fighting back instead of standing there like an untrained lump.
As she went over the events in her head, she was still not sure of how that next thing had happened, how she had ended up splayed against the wall, her wand in Bellatrix’s hand and her leg throbbing with pain.
How had that happened? She had been dueling quite well, if she could say so herself, not even a minute ago. She hadn’t even heard the curse being fired. All she knew was that she was dueling, and had then somehow ended up smashed against the wall, her body aching from the impact, and a terrible pain in her leg.
She remembered being disarmed, though. Her back had just made contact with the stone wall when she felt the Expelliarmus wresting the wand from her hand. She had been so distracted by the pain in her leg and the pain caused by her contact with the wall that she had been virtually unable to defend herself against the disarming.
Bellatrix bore over her, her face curled into a triumphant smirk.
“Well, Nymphadora, that was quite fun; you were certainly much more entertaining than you daddy. Unfortunately, you’re going to end up the same way as him. Your mother certainly knows how to choose them.”
“Well it least she chose him,” Nymphadora hissed through her pain. “She chose him, not you. You killed him, and you can kill me, but none of that will change the fact that she chose my dad over you.”
She was quite proud of that little speech. Very proud indeed. She hit Bellatrix right where it hurt, and not two seconds after it had left her mouth, Bellatrix’s wand was lifted, undoubtedly to fire the killing curse.
But then—that was where it all stopped making sense, Bellatrix’s mouth was opened to say the words, and her wand was raised to fire the curse, when a voice that neither of them at all expected to hear rang out down the corridor.
They both stared towards the one who had uttered those words, and their faces registered expressions of complete and total shock as the blonde hair and slight figure came into view.
“Excuse me?” Bellatrix asked incredulously.
“Stop,” the third woman panted “you can’t kill her. That’s-that’s Andromeda’s daughter.”
“I know very well who it is, Cissy,” Bellatrix replied, still incredulous.
“Don’t kill her. Not her,” Narcissa repeated authoritatively.
“And why shouldn’t I, Cissy? What?-have you finally developed a soft spot for nasty little half-blooded Aurors?” she sneered.
“You killed her husband. Isn’t that enough for you? Do you really have to kill her child as well?”
“Yes, Cissy, I do.”
“No. You don’t.” This time Narcissa’s voice had an angry, even menacing tone to it. “You’ve done enough Bella. You killed her husband. You made your point. Leave her daughter alone.” The last word was spoken with a surprising amount of force.
“I don’t know what on earth has gotten into you Cissy,” Bellatrix hissed, “but I don’t have time to deal with your hysterics at the moment. We’ll discuss this later.”
She raised her wand and opened her mouth once more.
Narcissa grabbed Bellatrix’s arm, and was attempting to wrestle her wand away from her—Narcissa was mysteriously wandless. She would have taken a moment to ponder the reason for that, had she not been so utterly shocked by Narcissa’s outburst.
Bellatrix seemed to have been momentarily unable to react to Narcissa, but after a moment or two she regained her composure, caught Narcissa by the arms, and threw her rather violently onto the floor with an expression of complete and total disgust.
She watched as Bellatrix threw Narcissa to the floor. As she landed, Narcissa’s blue eyes had moved up to meet her own brown ones.
The last thing she could remember seeing was the look of anguish and despair present in those blue eyes as they bore into her own.
And then, and then it was over. And here she was. Dead. Gone.
There were so many things she could have done to have kept it from happening, but she had done none of them. Not one. Now she had to live with those mistakes forever, “live” being the inoperative word.