"She's having a fit." Narcissa's statement was punctuated by the unmistakeable shatter of china hitting a very solid wall from beyond the door. Narcissa's pale eyes flashed to the door, then back up to her father, then quickly down at her feet as she tried very hard not to fidget. For all her seventeen years, and all the icy dignity she had learned to command, Orion could still make her feel like a small child. It only mitigated her embarrassment somewhat that he had this effect only fully grown men as well. "I don't know what's wrong, sir. She won't let me in."
Orion's strong jaw set hard, and he moved past his younger daughter to the door, ignoring Narcissa's visible wince as he opened it without preamble.
A harpy's shriek greeted him. "What did I say?!" reverberated in the dimly lit room, as Bellatrix whirled without looking and flung a heavy book in the direction of the door. Her aim, even in a tantrum, was unerring, but Orion had not been her father for nineteen years without learning quick reflexes, and he halted the projectile midair with his wand, then let it drop unceremoniously to the floor.
Bellatrix's eyes widened as she realised the intruder was not her sister, but even the sight of her much-adored father could not diffuse her temper. Though she stopped yelling and throwing things, the blood remained high in her cheeks, her body poised as though for combat. Her hair was still wet from being out in the storm, and she had abandoned her fine if sodden garments in favour of a dressing gown; if she hadn't already been several degrees past rational thought, she might have been embarassed for her father to see her in such a state, but at the moment, she was processing no emotion except pure, all-consuming rage.
After glancing at the havoc she had wrought upon her bedroom, Orion fixed his gaze upon Bellatrix and asked, "Narcissa seems to think you are upset about something," in a perfectly even tone.
Agitated as ever when confronted by placidity, Bellatrix's lower lip quivered threateningly, and with anyone else, such an undermining of her fury would provoke further tempests. But this was her father, and she did hesitate to press his limits. She forced the words, "Yes, sir," out from between her teeth, in a voice still shaking with rage.
Folding his hands behind his back, Orion nodded calmly. "Did something happen at the Lestranges'?"
He had his answer before she spoke, for just at the name, Bellatrix bristled like an angry wildcat. "Yes, sir," she snapped out, more hotly, lifting her chin in indignation. "Rodolphus Lestrange said he wants to marry me."
Orion arched one dark eyebrow, an expression that his daughters had long ago copied and perfected. "This is hardly your typical reaction to a marriage proposal."
The barely-leashed ire burst out again, and Bellatrix began pacing the room furiously, hands sweeping in broad gestures. "The arrogant bastard had the nerve to treat me -- me! -- as though I were any of the other girls, any of those mindless twits who throw themselves at him, and I don't understand it, I don't know where this came from! Why? Why him? Rodolphus was the only one not behaving like a besotted idiot, the only one not begging me to marry him, and he had to go -- he had to ruin it!"
Ah. Well, that would explain it. Orion watched as Bellatrix paced like a caged tiger who had been poked through the bars with a stick one too many times. Small wonder Narcissa was cowering outside in terror.
He folded his arms slowly, and remained silent for a long moment before speaking. Bellatrix, finding that her nervous energy was not being responded to, and thus had nowhere to go, fidgeted.
"And why does it trouble you so much that he's changed his mind and realised what a fine wife you will undoubtedly make?" Orion said, cool grey eyes fixed on his daughter.
"Because-- Because it just isn't like him!" she howled. "And it shouldn't be him, of all people! He's, he's insufferable! An utter torment! I will never marry him, never, I'd go mad!"
"Have a care, young lady, how readily you throw around such words as 'never'."
Orion's voice was barely above a whisper, but it stopped Bellatrix as suddenly as if he had struck her. "What do you--" Her dark eyes widened, the fire dimming in the obsidian depths. "No. No, you cannot be serious. Father, no."
"Nothing is final," Orion said. "But yes, I am in discussions with Robur Lestrange." He cut off her shrill of indignant outrage with a brisk hand motion. "I believe the two of you are well-suited, probably far moreso than either of you is even aware. It speaks well for young Mister Lestrange that you've not managed to frighten him off." He gazed at his beautiful, furious daughter for a moment, contemplative. "Parents make these decisions for a reason, Bellatrix. We often see things that you, in the folly of youth, cannot."
"Papa--" It was an act of desperation, resorting in her blind horror to an epit she'd not used in years, but Orion remained unmoved.
"I know you would not want to behave in a way that would disappoint me, Bellatrix, so let me make this abundantly clear: if Rodolphus Lestrange makes you an honourable offer, if he proposes with the blessing of his family and ours, you will accept."
Bellatrix trembled with rage. There was no one, no one she would less like to marry in this moment than Rodolphus Lestrange. But there was also no power that would make her cross her father's will. She stood, shaking with the force of her fury, lower lip quivering, her blood broiling with raw, seething hatred.
Orion, by contrast, could not have been more still. It was for her own good. He had been examining Bellatrix's peers for some time now, had followed the progress of the young men of her set, and had determined that the elder Lestrange boy was the best possible choice. Alone of all her suitors, he would not be overrun by her. And that, Orion suspected, was precisely what perturbed Bellatrix so very much. And that was precisely why these matters were best handled by the parents, whose age and wisdom could see what arrogant youth and quick tempers could not acknowledge. He would be doing his daughter a disservice to match her to anyone less capable of matching her storm for storm.
"Acknowledge that you understand me," he commanded, with full patriarchal force.
Tears pricked at her eyes, born of pure frustration and anger that had no other way to unleash itself. Orion so rarely took a firm hand with his elder daughter, and she was not fully equipped to deal with his steadfast refusal to capitulate to her wishes.
"Yes, sir," she replied, in a sullen, echoing tone.
LADY CAPULET: Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?
JULIET: It is an honour that I dream not of.
~~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 Scene 3