Plato Parsons reluctantly walked to the enormous iron gate. He pulled up his sleeve and traced the intricate design on his left forearm. He shivered as he recalled the initiation ceremony - the excruciating pain as the dark mark was being carved into his flesh. Trembling, he lifted his arm and pointed the mark towards the gate. The heavy creak of the iron dragging on pebble startled him as it opened before his thrilled eyes. He quickened his pace and headed to the main entrance, trying to hide from the lashing rain and the blinding lightning. The gigantic castle grew taller as he approached. Fear and excitement were fighting in his heart; finally, he was going to meet him.
He had hoped that this moment would have come earlier; however, the Dark Lord had not been present in his initiation ceremony. Back when his followers were fewer, he was always the one to carve the dark mark on their forearm; but as the Death Eaters grew in number, he was unable to be there at all times. “He has more urgent duties to attend to” the blond haired man who gave him the mark had informed him when he frowned with disappointment. Little did he know back then that he would be visiting that man’s residence to present himself before Lord Voldemort. The tales he had heard about his accomplishments would finally be incarnated into a living, breathing person. If, of course, you could possibly suggest that the Dark Lord resembled a person in any way.
The entrance door opened for him and he found himself in a massive hall which was, however, deserted. He looked around anxiously, trying to figure out where he was meant to go. Luckily, an indistinct chatter echoed from somewhere on his right. He followed the voices down a gloomy corridor and eventually arrived to his destination. The room was probably a dining hall, with the elongated mahogany table in the middle, the two chandeliers hanging ominously from the ceiling and the flames roaring in the fireplace. Around the table were seated the selected few who were to participate in the next Death Eater mission - an attack to the very heart of muggle London.
He observed them in silence as they turned their eyes towards him; he recognized his old classmate, Severus Snape, sitting on the left side of the table. On the right, he saw the blond haired man again; he now knew that his name was Lucius Malfoy. On his left, he noticed a teenage girl with platinum locks, the very same shade as Lucius’. “She must be Narcissa Black, his fiancee” he assumed. On his right there was another young girl, a little older than the previous one. Her untamed raven curls and the menacing look on her face took him aback.
And right next to her, on the narrow end of the table, sat Lord Voldemort himself. He was as imposing as Plato had imagined; inside his blood red eyes, which created a stark contrast against his pale skin, one could read all kinds of horrors, nightmares that cannot even be reached through one's imagination.
Suddenly, an unexpected sound resonated in the silent hall; if he didn’t know better, he would assume it was a baby’s cry. Just as he tried to locate the source of the sound, he noticed the raven haired girl reaching for something. He followed her movement with his eyes and, to his great astonishment, he saw her pick up a creature from the Dark Lord’s lap. Maybe his eyes were playing tricks on him but…
“IS THAT A BABY?” he uttered before he could contain himself.
Severus Snape turned his head and gave him an alarmed warning look, just as Lord Voldemort rose and directed his attention towards Plato.
“Is there a problem, young man?” he asked gently, a slight threat underlying in his tone.
“Absolutely not, my Lord. But if you don’t mind me asking, what is a baby doing here?”
The girl, who was now holding the baby, bared her teeth and growled at him.
“Easy, Bella” muttered Voldemort as he lay an arm on her shoulder, restraining her. “I will deal with this fool myself.”
He looked around the table, staring momentarily at each face that met his gaze.
“Who of you will be so kind as to inform our guest about the significance of the infant that so greatly surprised him?”
The girl who had growled at him - he understood now that she was no other than Bellatrix Lestrange - tightened her embrace on the child and kissed its forehead protectively, all while staring at him in fiery anger. Unintentionally, he backed away a few steps.
Severus Snape decided to take the initiative and answer the question.
“Parsons, isn’t it?” he asked. Before Plato had a chance to respond, Snape continued. “Well, Parsons, the infant to whom you directed your attention is the new heir. She is the offspring of our Lord and the importance of her presence is of no question.”
Plato was certain that he was losing his mind. Had he really just witnessed the terrifying Dark Lord with a baby on his lap? He quickly smothered a chuckle with the back of his hand.
“What was that?”
The red eyes were now fixed on him.
“YOU CONTINUE TO DOUBT THE IMPORTANCE OF MY DAUGHTER? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”
Before he could even react, he was thrown to the ground. He winced at the pain that came with the collision. He tried to get up, but he never did. Suddenly, he was in the air. A split second of clarity came, and he then knew what to expect.
Then the spell hit him.
He felt like his whole body was burning, burning from the inside out, like every one of his bones and muscles was revolting against him. A horrid scream filled the air, and it was coming from him. He fervently wished that he were dead, unconscious, anything, if only this could be over. His vision blacked out, his consciousness was withering away.
The last thing he thought of was: “Seriously? A fucking baby???”
Indeed, Plato. A fucking baby. For as our poor friend so violently discovered, Lord Voldemort had fathered a daughter; her name was Delphini (although he often affectionately referred to her as Delphi). Do not ask how this name came to fruition; nobody knows what went on in that fucked up head of his. What is known, however, is the story of how she was born.
It was common knowledge among the ranks of the Death Eaters that the Dark Lord’s most loyal and devoted follower was Bellatrix Lestrange. One could even say that her emotions for him surpassed loyalty and devotion and reached an almost inappropriate level (wink, wink). Despite the fact that she was married to Rodolphus Lestrange, nobody thought much of it; not even Rodolphus himself. He was assured knowing that their leader would never be able to return her feelings; besides, it was enough for him to share her bloodlust and her sadistic tendencies towards muggles and mudbloods. They would often go on missions together, making an invincible team, torturing and murdering their targets most effectively. After all, it's the little things you do together that make marriage a joy.
However, Bellatrix was clearly prodigious at dark magic; she was only nineteen when Lord Voldemort decided that he would have to exploit her talent if he wanted more chances to win the war. And therefore, he began to train her privately; for there were spells and curses that only a witch of her ability would be able to produce, and her developed skills could prove vital in the battlefield.
That was all the encouragement she needed. She gradually started to earn his favor; he didn't only value her as a soldier anymore, but also as a consultant. Bellatrix was intelligent, effective, determined, and blindly dedicated to their cause and to him. Many gossiped that Madame Lestrange was somewhat mentally disturbed; but he believed she was a genius.
He would never have come up with the idea on his own; why would he need an offspring when he was going to live forever? But it was Bellatrix who opened up his eyes.
“How can you forget what you taught me, my lord? No plan is without a flaw. We should never be so foolish as to believe that our strategies will forever be successful; isn't that why we always prepare a second plan?”
“What do you want to say, Bellatrix? Speak clearly. You know better than to be afraid of me.”
“My lord, I can see how anxious the Horcruxes make you. You always wonder if you have truly secured eternal life, if all of your hard work to create them is paying off. Wouldn't you feel more at ease if there was an alternative option, another way to continue the legacy?”
“What do you propose then?”
“A child, my lord. You must produce an heir.”
He had never quite pictured himself as a father; anything but that. But Bellatrix was right; the issue of his immortality did trouble him, and having an heir would help him relax and focus on more urgent issues. But how? He couldn't just wave his wand and produce a child. The process was much more demanding and, of course, there was a crucial aspect to be decided; who was worthy of carrying his heir?
“I can see that I have startled you, my lord. Forgive me. I only wanted to help you.”
“No, Bella, do not apologize. You're right, I need to have options. I appreciate your interest in me and I will accept all the help you can offer in this matter.”
Bellatrix bowed down and nodded understandingly. She had been chosen for a new mission, completely different from the ones she was used to. But she was more than willing to accomplish it.
It would be not only inappropriate, but also deeply unpleasant to provide a description of their efforts towards this new goal. Such things can be upsetting, especially to younger readers. Or to younger listeners, in this case. We are speaking of Narcissa Black, Bellatrix’s younger sister.
“I don’t wanna hear it.”
“And then when he…”
“Bella, I’m serious.”
“I’m almost finished Cissy! Come on!”
“I am literally about to vomit. Shut up.”
“I didn’t even tell you about that thing he did…”
“Bella, stop! I can’t bear to hear another thing he did to you! Can’t you see it disgusts me? You, sleeping with…”
Bellatrix’s eyes darkened.
“Is there anything wrong with who I’m sleeping with?”
Narcissa looked away.
“Is there anything you’d like to say about him, Cissy?”
“Bella, come on. He is decades older than you. You could be his daughter.”
“He is our lord, Narcissa. He is my lord. If he wants me, he can have me. I offer myself to him, he can use me any way he wants; as a soldier, as a consultant, as a lover.”
“Bella, you know you’re lying. You know you want this more than him. You… you enjoy it!”
“That’s not it. All I did was point out the importance of him having an heir. A child with a pureblood mother, a child who could continue his legacy… you know… in case something goes wrong.”
“And you’re very meticulous at trying to breed him an heir. Very willing. Bellatrix, who are you trying to fool? If you didn’t enjoy it, would you be sitting here all these hours, telling me about your nights together?”
“Well, alright. I admit it. I can’t say it doesn’t excite me to know that the most powerful dark wizard in the world spends his nights inside my…”
“My arms, Cissy! What is your problem?”
“Do Mother and Father know about this?”
“Not yet… I will only tell them if we succeed. What’s the point in upsetting them if there is no heir to speak of?”
“Does Rodolphus know?”
Bellatrix giggled again.
“Rodolphus has been personally ordered by the Dark Lord himself to stay away from me. He isn’t even allowed to touch me. Imagine if I conceived his baby instead.”
“I’m afraid not. But the truth is, there’s no need to worry. Rodolphus can’t have children anyway.”
“No, he confessed it to me. They’ve all been hiding it because they knew they wouldn’t be able to find him a wife. And then he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone… He just wanted to reassure me that I wouldn’t conceive his child even if we did sleep together.”
“So what did you do?”
“Him. Of course.”
“What? Now you don’t want me to sleep with my husband?”
“Do you have a schedule or something?”
“Yes, Rodolphus on weekdays and my Lord in the weekends.”
“I was joking!”
“That’s insane, Bella. And to think that Lucius and I have only kissed.”
“You’re too young, love.”
“I am not!”
“You are. I can’t even understand why Lucius is allowed to take you on missions with him. Just wait until you graduate. Then you’ll get married and then… Well, you know.”
“You don’t seem to consider marriage as an important factor in this issue!”
“Narcissa! Stop this! This isn’t just an affair, this is about continuing the legacy!”
“Whatever, just save me the details, okay?”
Bellatrix rolled her eyes, as if she had just been met with the most absurd request in the world.
“So what if you do conceive? What comes next? Will you raise the child?”
“I want to. He promised me I would.”
“But how? With Rodolphus?”
“I don’t think so. I mean, Rodolphus is a devout Death Eater and everything, but I don’t think my Lord will want him raising our child.”
“Are you listening to yourself? ‘my Lord’, ‘our child’... Wow, Bella, it’s gone to your head.”
But at that point their father walked in and took Narcissa with him - the girl was going to graduate Hogwarts soon and her family was preparing her wedding to Lucius Malfoy; they seemed like a perfect match. The only person opposing this marriage was her mother; but when asked to explain why, she was unable to provide a reasonable answer.
“Perhaps she simply doesn't like him," Narcissa tried to guess once while discussing it with her sister. “But how is that possible? He’s good and kind and oh, so handsome! Have you seen his hair?”
“We were classmates, Cissy, of course I've seen his hair. The exact same shade as yours.” Bellatrix seemed skeptical, but Narcissa didn't notice.
“And his eyes! Blue like ice!”
“Right, Cissy. Just like yours.”
But she decided to keep those thoughts to herself. And so Narcissa and Lucius got married, and when the father of the bride urged the newlyweds to grant him a grandchild soon, his wife choked on her drink.
“Forgive me, my darling, but I simply cannot comprehend it.”
“He wants us to let her stay here until further notice.”
“It isn’t that part that troubles me; I don’t understand the reason behind it. She has a home and a husband of her own and I think the Lestrange Manor is an excellent place for the birth and upbringing of her child.”
“It seems that the Dark Lord doesn’t agree; Bella says that he doesn’t want his baby raised in the Lestrange household. He wants to be actively involved in the child’s upbringing and Rodolphus’s presence could compromise his status as a father figure.”
Lucius threw his head back in exasperation and gently massaged his temples with his thumbs.
“Narcissa, my dear, I am absolutely positive that your sister made up this entire story herself.”
“It’s that ridiculous, isn’t it?”
“It’s by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in my life.”
“I know, I know. But this doesn’t change the Dark Lord’s demand: Bellatrix will stay with us. I think he might be doing this for protection.”
“One has to think of protection before impregnating a married woman, not afterwards.”
“That’s not funny, Lucius. Besides, I told you it was all intentional.”
“It was a good joke though. I can’t believe you didn’t like it.”
“You have a terrible sense of humor.”
“You just can’t appreciate it.”
He flipped his hair dramatically. Narcissa rolled her eyes.
“This is beyond the point. As I said, I think he wants to protect her. In case the rumor that Bellatrix is carrying his heir spreads around.”
“Indeed, that makes perfect sense. It is the least obvious place to hide your unborn illegitimate child.”
“I don’t appreciate your sarcasm.”
“No, really, I think it’s a great idea. No one will suspect Bellatrix is staying with her sister – only a genius could figure out such a… riddle.”
“Was… was that a pun?”
“Lucius, will you stop making bad jokes? You’re not helping.”
“It is merely my coping mechanism!”
“Will you help me or not? We have to make some arrangements! Where will she sleep? Where will she put all her belongings? What about the baby?”
“What about it?”
“Where will the baby sleep?”
“Will she still be here after she has the baby?”
“I don’t know, maybe! We have to make sure we’re prepared!”
They went around the house to inspect some of the empty guest rooms.
“I like this one. It’s spacious - we could have a little baby crib over there, don’t you think?”
“Uhm… Yeah. Sure.”
“And it’s in the west wing so it won’t be too bright in the mornings. Bellatrix isn’t so fond of the sun. It makes her... aggressive.”
Lucius looked stressed.
“Okay. Aggressive. I’m glad you shared this piece of information. It doesn’t upset me at all.”
“I mean, you know, moody. Irritable.”
“Oh, don’t worry, darling. Your sister and I were classmates. I know what an ‘aggressive’ Bellatrix looks like.”
“Lucius, relax. Living with Bellatrix isn’t the easiest, but we’ll manage. After all, she loves me and cares about me. And she might be a little peculiar, but she’s still my sister. And I love her too.”
“A little peculiar? We are talking about the woman who consensually had sex with…”
“Can you please not remind me of that? She used to share all the gory details with me. I still have nightmares about it.”
“Gory details, huh? I’m intrigued.”
“No, you aren’t. You really aren’t. I’ve been trying to get those images out of my head forever.”
“I’m just saying, he might have some interesting techniques. In these matters, one can always benefit from different sources. I’m interested; anything we should try?”
“What… what are you talking about?”
“You know; foreplay, positions… What are the Dark Lord’s dark secrets?”
“Lucius! That’s disgusting!”
“What’s his approach towards oral sex? Does he receive it? Does he give it?”
“I really wish I didn’t know the answer to that.”
“Uhm… yes. And… yes.”
“Wow. I didn’t think he’d give it. You learn something new every day! And, well, does he have any kinks? He seems to be the kinky type.”
“I will not continue this conversation.”
“That’s too bad. It was getting adventurous.”
After they had ordered their brand new house elf, Dobby, to clean up the chamber and prepare it, they sat together in the living room. Lucius went over to the liquor cabinet and poured himself some firewhiskey.
“You know what’s so great about the Black sisters?” he said as he took a sip of his drink.
“You can marry one and get another one for free. And the second comes with a bonus feature: a baby!”
“Alright, I’ll give you that one. But I have to warn you; that bonus feature could apply to both of them.”
“What… what do you mean?”
“Look, I’m not sure yet but it’s very likely. I should see a healer, of course. But I think I’m also pregnant.”
His jaw dropped.
“Why haven’t you told me?”
“Because I’m not sure yet… But I think it’s true.”
Lucius lifted her in his arms and kissed her. She laughed.
“You know this isn’t how you handle a pregnant woman,” she informed him.
“Oh, please give me all the advice you have on that topic. Looks like I’ll have to handle two of them.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed the tip of his nose.
“I love you, you handsome idiot.”
“I love you too.”
“Is there a problem, Mr. Malfoy?”
Lucius rubbed his eyes, trying to keep them open.
“No, my lord.”
“Go ahead then. Demonstrate the curse for us.”
He pointed his wand at the human practice target - a muggle captured in their last raid. His hand was trembling.
He took a deep breath in and flicked his wrist. Nothing happened.
“We don’t have all day here. Sit down, Lucius” the Dark Lord ordered him with an exasperated glance. “I’ll do it.”
Lucius sat down next to Rodolphus Lestrange.
“Hey, Luce… What happened there?”
“I’m just out of focus.”
“Out of focus? Your eyes are red, you’ve got black circles. When was the last time you slept properly?”
“I don’t know… Five days ago?”
Rodolphus placed a friendly hand on his shoulder.
“Are you having a tough time handling my wife?”
“More than you know.”
“How is she?”
“Bellatrix? Oh, she’s very well. Certainly better than me.”
“I’d like to stop by and see her… Do you think he’d mind?”
“Honestly? I don’t care. I’m on the verge of a breakdown.”
“How about your wife?”
“That’s the fun part - my wife is just as pregnant. I think I won’t be sane enough to raise my child by the time it’s born.”
“Bellatrix isn’t letting that stop her.”
“Hey, Rodolphus… How can you be so laid back about it?”
“This… situation. She’s your wife!”
“Officially, yes. But we have a free thing. Neither of us has been faithful so far, with mutual agreement. So why should it bother me? After all, we’re at war. Who knows if we’ll make it out of it? We have the right to live these moments any way we choose to. She chose to bear our master’s child, and I wish her luck.”
“You wish her luck? I’m the one who needs luck here.”
“Relax, pal. It’ll be over soon. Another month, isn’t it?”
“THAT’S NOT SOON ENOUGH!”
“Like a kidney stone, though.”
“It’ll pass nonetheless.”
Lucius let out a heavy sigh.
He returned home, humiliated and exhausted.
“I’m home!” he announced, immediately regretting it.
I should have hidden in the bathroom and taken a nap, he thought to himself as his wife and his sister-in-law came to find him.
“Hello, my darling,” he said and gave his wife a kiss. “Hi Bella.”
Bellatrix gave him a dreadful glare, and although he couldn’t see the fetus inside her enormously swollen belly, he assumed that it was also glancing at him with the exact same contempt.
“No small talk, okay. As you wish. I’m just going to go take a bath.”
“Alright, my love,” said Narcissa.
“Is it something I did?” he whispered to his wife.
“She woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.”
“I don’t think her bed has a right side.”
He immersed himself in the bathtub, letting the warm water cover him. His tired body gave in to the sensation, and he slowly felt himself drifting away. His eyelids fell, and he surrendered to a much needed sleep.
A loud, sharp shriek brought him back to reality. Before he even had the chance to try and make sense of it, the bathroom door opened violently. He screamed, and so did the intruder.
“My lord? What are you…”
“GET OUT OF THERE AND PUT SOMETHING ON,” Voldemort yelled as he covered his eyes with his hand.
Lucius jumped out of the tub, still covered in foam, and wrapped himself in the first thing he found; it was Narcissa’s silky pink bathrobe. He also grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his hair, making a cone-shaped towel hat.
The Dark Lord opened his eyes, much to his disappointment.
“You are a disgrace, Lucius.”
He looked at himself in the mirror, fixing the towel on his head.
“I think you’re exaggerating a little bit.”
“WILL YOU MOVE NOW? I’M HAVING A BABY!”
“You are… what?”
“I’M GOING TO BE A FATHER VERY SOON AND YOU’RE SLEEPING IN THE BATHTUB!”
He made the calculations in his head.
“Has Bellatrix gone into premature labour?”
“YES! YES SHE HAS! ARE YOU COMING?”
He stormed out of the room, impractically dragging his cloak behind him as it got stuck in corners and furniture. Lucius followed him, leaving a trail of bubbles on the floor.
Even for a newcomer to Malfoy Manor, locating the labour room was incredibly easy. Bellatrix’s horrid screams could cause temporary deafness.
“Why haven’t we called a midwife?” inquired Lucius, standing next to the bed in his pink robe and his towel hat.
Voldemort grabbed him from his pink collar.
“Because. We. Are. Keeping. This. Baby. A. SECRET!”
Another blood-curdling scream interrupted them.
“Oh dear… I think I can see the baby’s head!” said Narcissa, who was hidden under a bedsheet between her sister’s legs. Bellatrix was losing her patience.
“TAKE IT OUT!”
“Bella, darling, I don’t think it works that way…”
“PULL IT OUT!”
“I can’t do that, you have to push…”
“I AM PUSHING!”
“I’m not a professional!”
“Just keep pushing, Bella!” Lucius advised her, trying to help out.
The inhuman noise she directed towards him shut him up.
It took her a few hours, but despite her premature delivery, Bellatrix gave birth to a fully healthy little girl.
“Why is she crying?” asked the new father, clearly concerned.
“Newborns cry, my lord,” Narcissa informed him. “Would you like to hold her?”
He approached her and reluctantly took the baby in his arms, a grin plastered on his face.
“Narcissa, my love… Sorry to interrupt but I have valid reasons to think your sister has passed out.”
Lucius was right; Bellatrix, exhausted from the process, was lying unconscious in a pool of blood. Lord Voldemort gave her an uninterested glance.
“Not right now, Lucius. Can’t you see I’m holding my daughter?”
“But, my lord, her mother…”
“I shall deal with her in a minute.”
He left the room holding the newborn, while Lucius and Narcissa threw some cold water on Bellatrix’s face, trying to wake her up.
“Where is he? Where is my lord? Is he gone?”
“Relax, Bella. He’s outside. With your daughter.”
“Our daughter? Is she alright?”
“Yes. Yes, she is. She’s perfectly well.”
Bellatrix sighed in relief.
“Can I see her?”
Narcissa went to find the Dark Lord and bring back the baby, while Lucius stood there, still in his improvised apparel.
“How dare you appear like that before our lord and his heir? You disgust me, Malfoy!” she muttered as she observed him.
“I love you too, Bella.”
“Go put on some clothes, you are an embarrassment to our kin!”
“I’m not the one who let you-know-who in my you-know-what,” he said under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing, my dear sister, absolutely nothing. Congratulations on your baby. I’ll go put on some clothes, as instructed.”
“Well done, Bellatrix,” a voice echoed from the door as Lord Voldemort emerged, holding their infant daughter. “You have once again succeeded in your assigned mission. My daughter is a sight for sore eyes.”
He gently lay the baby in her mother’s arms.
“She has my eyes, don’t you think?”
Bellatrix compared her master’s blood-red eyes to the sky blue in her daughter’s eyes.
“Oh, right. Well, my eyes were also blue once… Like Delphini’s.”
“Yes, that’s the name I decided to give her.”
“It’s perfect, my lord.”
“Not as perfect as my daughter herself.” He swept a tear with his finger.
“How could a child fathered by you be anything less than perfect, my lord?”
I’m going to throw up, thought Narcissa, and she proceeded to run to the bathroom and do so. It’s hard to say whether she was triggered by her own pregnancy or by the affectionate scene she had just witnessed.
Voldemort stormed into the hall in anticipation.
“I’m here! Where’s Delphini? Where is my daughter?”
Lucius bowed to him.
“Her mother is breastfeeding her, my lord. They are in Bellatrix’s bedroom.”
“Then I’m going there!” he exclaimed as he ran up the stairs. “Delphi!” he yelled as he entered the door. Bellatrix clumsily tried to cover herself. “It’s alright Bella, nothing there that I haven’t already seen. Now, where is my baby? Come here, Delphi. That’s right, come to papa! There’s my girl!”
Bellatrix smiled humbly as she watched them. He had brought the little girl a toy wand and was trying to teach her how to hold it.
“My lord, I’ve been thinking… Maybe you should give her the dark mark too.”
“Bella, she’s two months old. She’s too small, too weak… I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“Surely she’ll be alright.”
“I appreciate your enthusiasm but I believe the dark mark can wait.”
“Maybe we can make her a temporary one. With ink. How about that?”
“Why would we… You know what? I don’t see why not.”
“Great! And then maybe you can make her a little mask too! Don’t you think it’ll suit her?”
“Uhm… Yes, definitely. Anything you say.”
Suddenly, he looked around, sniffing the air. “What is this?”
“Give her to me, my lord.” Voldemort handed her the baby. “What have you done now, you bad girl; pooping while papa was holding you? I just changed your diaper! Just now!”
The Dark Lord looked apalled.
“Bella, don’t you think you could possibly have a house elf take care of this?”
“No house elf will be allowed to touch my daughter!”
“But… Alright, I’ll step out for a minute,” he murmured as Bellatrix undid the baby’s diaper to reveal horrors that had never before met his eyes.
“Merlin’s beard, Delphi, you really have outdone yourself this time,” Bellatrix soliloquized as she threw away the dirty diaper. “There you go. Now don’t do this again, not when papa is holding you. It is very disrespectful to papa, you know that? Papa is the greatest dark wizard of all time… Do you understand me, baby?”
“Are you done yet?” his voice echoed from outside the door.
“Yes, my lord.”
“That’s good to hear,” he said as he returned to the room. “I’m afraid I should be gone soon.”
“I have to meet a troop and supervise their training… Nothing too special, they’re mostly new recruits.”
“Would you like to take Delphini with you?”
“My lord! She has to see you at work, learn the secrets of the trade! You should spend quality time with your daughter!”
“My dear Bellatrix, I shall remind you since it seems to escape your notice; she is two months old.”
“That is nothing but an excuse! For only I know the pain that tore apart my insides like a thousand curses when I gave birth to her! And I understand what it means, my lord; Delphini has been a Death Eater from the moment she was born!”
“Don’t you think you’re being a little overdramatic? I think every woman hurts at childbirth.”
“That isn’t the point, my lord. Will you please take our daughter with you?”
He pondered it for a minute.
“Very well, I shall grant your wish. I don’t see how it could really be threatening to her. Now, should I take something with me? Her lunch?”
“Oh no, my lord, Delphi is still breastfeeding, did you forget?”
“Oh right, of course. Well, I suppose that leaves me with one option. You are also to come.”
Bellatrix threw herself on the floor and gently grabbed at his cloak.
“Thank you, my lord,” she muttered. “I always hoped you’d appreciate my assistance in organizing your troops.”
“I’m afraid you didn’t understand… Oh well, nevermind.”
And the three of them took off for their little field trip.
During those dark times, the raids that targeted muggles and muggle-borns were many and frequent. Voldemort and his followers struck unexpectedly and destroyed everything in their path. Houses were burnt, people (even children) were murdered.
One was lucky if one met their death at the hands of Severus Snape. He was familiar with an abundance of creative dark curses, which made him an invaluable fighter, but he preferred to give his victims a clean, swift death.
Lord Voldemort was brutal in his killings, but he chose efficiency over pleasure. He made someone's death slow only if he didn't have anything better to do.
Bellatrix Lestrange, on the other hand, was a pure sadist. She loved to torture her victims, drain the life out of them as slowly and as painfully as possible, until they begged her to put an end to it all and kill them already.
Even worse than falling prey to Bellatrix, however, was being held captive.
The captives were held for days, weeks even, in dungeons dark as night and were given below what was necessary to survive. When the time came, they were taken to a location used for the purpose of training new recruits, mostly eager Slytherins who had just graduated from Hogwarts.
This was where Voldemort, Bellatrix and Delphi were currently at.
Bellatrix was practically bouncing with excitement.
“My Lord! This is so thrilling! Delphi's very first training!” she exclaimed while the poor captives were violently pushed into the room by masked Death Eaters. “She’ll be amazing! You'll see!”
“Bellatrix, I hate to break it to you once again, but I doubt Delphi will contribute to this training at all.”
He glanced skeptically at his daughter, who was currently trying to fit her entire palm into her mouth.
“She is the daughter of the most powerful wizard who has ever lived. I'm sure she'll prove her worth.”
Voldemort rolled his snakey eyes and turned his attention to the captives, all moving together like a herd of sheep. There were no boundaries separating them from him or the new recruits that would arrive any minute now, because none were needed. The old secluded barn where the training took place was secured so that no captive could escape it, lest they wanted to meet a horrid death, and all of them were of course unarmed. Voldemort looked at the mute terror in their faces and smiled with delight.
Presently, the new Death Eaters entered the barn, some of them with equally terrified looks on their faces. Their “chaperones” guided them to the side, left of Voldemort, Bellatrix, and Delphi, who was observing them with interest and making little noises of curiosity.
Lucius Malfoy (he was the one who was good with words) made the same as always speech about now being the time for them to prove their worth to their Dark Lord and be rewarded accordingly (by being allowed to fight for him to the death. Some reward, thought Lucius bitterly, and then he remembered that Voldemort could read minds and stopped these thoughts).
The training was mostly conducted by Severus Snape, who had a great passion for the Dark Arts, as well as an extensive knowledge of them from an early age. He started with the dull stuff, the ones the recruits already knew from school. Defensive spells, disarming spells, stunning spells and the like. Just when things were getting boring though, he moved to more exciting and complicated stuff. Incendiary curses, spells that caused severe bodily harm, curses that were made for the sole purpose of torturing, all the while performing them on the captives, whose screams of anguish were filling the air.
Delphi seemed to be having tremendous fun, clapping her hands excitedly and giggling while a poor woman was lifted in the air and set on fire, or while another man's bones started sticking out of his body, slowly killing him in the process.
Bellatrix was staring at her daughter, full of pride and adoration.
“You see, my lord? I told you! She was born a Death Eater!”
Voldemort turned to Delphi.
“Does my little girl like this? Is my girl a little Death Eater?” he cooed while tickling her chin.
Delphi burst out laughing.
This moment of domestic glee interrupted a severed head that flew a few inches left of Bellatrix and Delphi.
“SNAPE! COULD YOU CONTROL THESE FUCKTARDS WHILE I'M TALKING TO MY DAUGHTER?” the Dark Lord yelled.
“Yes, my lord. I apologize, my lord,” Snape answered with the same phlegmatic voice as always. “Jackson, next time do not flick your wrist so abruptly”.
“Is Delphi okay?” Voldemort asked Bellatrix.
“Yes, my lord. Nothing can scare my fearless little girl.”
She stroked Delphi's cheek, and the baby proceeded to bite her mother’s finger.
“You don't have teeth yet, silly!” Bellatrix chided. Voldemort smiled.
“My lord...” Snape's voice cut through the air again.
“I believe it is time for you to demonstrate to the young Death Eaters the unforgivable curses.”
“Very well, bring three targets to me.”
Voldemort was always the one who performed the unforgivables, not because Snape was unable to produce them, but because the Dark Lord performing the most difficult and unmentionable spells offered a certain dramatic climax and, after all, Voldemort lived for the dramatic.
“The first curse the Dark Lord is going to demonstrate to you is the Imperius curse. As you have probably learned at school, the person affected succumbs to the curser's will completely.”
Silence fell across the barn as Voldemort murmured “imperio” and pointed his wand at a middle-aged woman. Her eyes turned glassy and soulless.
“Strangle yourself,” ordered Voldemort and the woman complied. After a few minutes of struggle, she fell to the floor, dead by her very own hands.
The stunned silence was interrupted by Delphi's gurgling noises as she started blowing spit bubbles.
“There, there, baby girl,” whispered Bellatrix while wiping her mouth with a cloth.
“Next, um... next up is the Cruciatus curse, the most brutal torturing curse in existence,” continued Snape.
Voldemort stood in front of a very terrified young man and yelled “Crucio!”. The target was levitated and began to writhe and scream atrociously. Delphini started laughing again. Voldemort stroked her hair with one hand, while continuing to torture the man with the other. After a while, he got bored and dropped the man to the ground.
“Finish him off,” he ordered, and turned his attention to his daughter.
“Isn't it time for you to breastfeed her, Bella?”
“Not for a while, my lord.”
Voldemort nodded and focused on the training again.
“And the last curse, the most efficient and famous one...”
“Stop for a minute there, Severus. I think the Dark Lord’s daughter wants something,” interrupted Bellatrix. Snape glanced at her in exasperation, momentarily wondering if this was what he had signed up for.
Delphi was indeed letting out little high pitched sounds and making grabby hands towards her father.
“What does my baby want? Does she want her papa?” Voldemort smiled and kneeled in front of her.
“My Lord.... I think she wants... your wand,” Bellatrix said reluctantly.
“Well, if she wants my wand, then she shall have it!” Voldemort exclaimed.
Snape could not believe the man who spoke those words was the most feared man in existence. Lucius fainted. Even Bellatrix herself was a bit hesitant.
“Are… are you sure th-this is a good idea, my lord?” Snape asked in a trembling voice.
“Silence, you fool! My daughter will now prove her worth to all of you!”
He placed the wand in her tiny hands.
“There you go, baby girl.”
Even the terrified captives had for a while forgotten their agony and were curiously looking at the little baby, holding one of the most powerful wands in the world. Delphi lifted the wand with both hands and pointed it at the last target presented before Voldemort, a young girl, who smiled at Delphi. Delphi smiled back.
And then the baby let out a high-pitched noise. A burst of orange light flew from the wand and bore a hole in the girl's chest. She fell down dead, her smile forever frozen on her face.
Everyone was at a loss for words. Delphi giggled again and dropped the wand. The silence was stunned and deadly.
“MERLIN’S BEARD! DID YOU ALL SEE THAT? MY DAUGHTER DID THIS!! MY DAUGHTER KILLED A MUGGLE AND SHE IS TWO MONTHS OLD!” Bellatrix screeched.
Voldemort lifted the little girl in the air, desperately moved.
“She is truly a child of mine. Any doubt I might have had about it has now vanished forever. She will be a worthy heir that will carry on my legacy, she already is far worthier than each and every one of you! Delphini is from now on my second in command, in battle and in council! Bow down to her!”
Everyone obeyed the Dark Lord, in various states of shock and bewilderment.
Just when I thought this couldn't get any more absurd, thought Lucius, who had just awoken from his passing out, and then he remembered again that Voldemort could read minds, and stopped these thoughts.
It was a stormy night in late February. The rain was falling hard and unforgiving against the window pane and the wind was howling. Malfoy Manor was dark and chilly, save for the heating spell in Lucius and Narcissa's bedroom. They were presently lying in their bed, Narcissa stroking her belly, which was now clearly protruding.
Bellatrix was in a very good mood, seeing as this was her favourite weather. If she was humming some Celestina Warbeck under her breath, no one would know.
Another reason why Bellatrix was in a good mood was that her beloved Master was there with them this night, spending some quality time with his daughter, time during which he forbade everyone else from intruding, even Bellatrix. This hurt her a little, but not enough to stop her from being overjoyed that the bond between Delphi and the Dark Lord was getting stronger day by day.
Of course, shutting everyone else out while being with Delphini had its downsides for Voldemort, such as the fact that he was obliged to deal with the occasional… accident by himself. This was what he was currently doing in Delphini's room, while she was giggling with glee. Thank Merlin I have no nose, he thought as he levitated the dirty diaper. His daughter's latest… accomplishment was certainly impressive.
He was about to vanish the offending item, when the crack of apparition startled him into dropping it on the floor. He was about to Avada Kedavra the bastard who dared barge in unannounced, vaguely registering that it was in fact Snape, when the latter, guessing his intentions, yelled “NO, MY LORD! I HAVE GOOD REASON FOR THIS!”
The Dark Lord pondered it for a second and, concluding that Snape had indeed not displayed any suicidal tendencies so far and would not have done this without good reason, he reluctantly lowered his wand. Snape sighed with relief and was about to start saying something, when his gaze fell on the diaper and its contents sprawled on the floor.
“Do you WANT to die?” Voldemort cut him off.
“Right, yes, sorry... I shall proceed with my story.”
“It’d better be a good one, Severus, or else this diaper will be the last thing you see before your face hits the floor.”
“Right... so... earlier tonight I decided to go to the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and have a glass of butterbeer to remember the good old Hogwarts days, under disguise of course...”
“Did you apparate here to tell me about your NIGHT OUT???”
“My Lord, please just let me finish… So, while I was drinking, I noticed among the other patrons of the inn, none other than Albus Dumbledore.”
Voldemort perked up at the mention of this name.
“What was he doing there?”
“He was not alone, my Lord. He was there with a young woman with large glasses and even larger hair, who introduced herself as Sylvia, I think? She was applying for the position of the Divination professor at Hogwarts.”
“Snape, I am losing my patience...”
“Just let me finish my tale, my Lord, and then you may kill me if you please. Dumbledore was interviewing her and he looked none too pleased with the results. It appeared that he was about to get up and leave. But then… something unexpected happened.”
“You do realize that dramatic effect does not work in your favour?”
“I apologize, my Lord. I’ll cut to the chase. The woman abruptly entered a trance-like state and she mechanically started reciting a prophecy.”
“Yes, my Lord. A prophecy about you.”
Voldemort was intrigued. “Well? What did it say?”
“Before I tell you, I should warn you that I did not hear all of it, because they threw me out.”
“You bloody idiot! What was it that gave you away?”
“Probably producing a quill and ink and proceeding to write what she was saying on my hand.”
Voldemort closed his eyes in exasperation and reminded himself that Snape was a valuable and talented devotee and that if he killed him now, he wouldn't hear any of the prophecy.
“Well? I am all ears.”
Snape almost commented that he in fact had no ears, but his self-preservation instinct kicked in at the last minute and saved him.
“Well, let me see.” He lifted the sleeve of his robe and looked at the smudged writing on his hand. Voldemort rolled his eyes. “She said: The one with the power to vacuum the Dark Lord approaches.”
Snape squinted at his hand. “Sorry, this can't be correct. I think she might have said... vanquish?”
“Born to those who have thrice defied him...”
“Thrice defied me? Nonsense! No one has defied me and lived long enough to repeat it!”
“I am just reciting what I heard, my Lord...”
“Born as the seventh month dies...”
“I’m afraid that’s all I heard. This was about the time Madame Rosmerta spotted me and ordered me kicked out. An order two of the patrons took quite literally.” He winced, rubbing his butt.
But Voldemort was paying no mind to him. “So at the end of July a child will be born... A child with the power to vanquish me...”
“That was the general idea, my Lord.”
“And its parents belong to this abominable Order this pathetic little man Dumbledore has formed, this has to be the only explanation for the defying part.”
“I suppose so, my Lord.”
He was about to say something else when Delphi, who didn't like being ignored for so long, levitated her dirty diaper, screeching. Voldemort and Snape turned, horrified as she threw it across the room. Voldemort was quick enough to duck but Snape... was not that lucky. He accepted the blow with the resignation of a man that has gone through hell and has nothing left to lose. Voldemort sighed and extended his arms to embrace Delphi, who was instantly pacified.
“I want you to find every baby that could fit that description as soon as possible. I also want you to take a bath, unpleasant as this must be for you.” Voldemort looked at Snape who was wet, exhausted, and covered in poop in contempt. “Now GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!”
Snape was all too happy to oblige, probably grateful he made it out alive, and so he disapparated. Voldemort finished changing Delphi and cleaned the mess she had made, all the while cooing about how she was the evilest little girl ever, and no other baby could ever surpass her.
When he opened the door to step out, he startled Lucius, Narcissa and Bellatrix, who were leaning against it in an unusual and probably uncomfortable formation, eavesdropping. No one dared ask him anything, though Voldemort could sense they were dying to, and so he decided the worst punishment for their indiscretion was to just ignore them.
He, however, did not resist saying: “Get out of our way, losers, we have a baby to murder!”
It's been quite some time since we last updated this! But do not worry, this story will be completed!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Oh Cissy! He looks just like you!”
“Well, Bella, excuse you but I’d say he looks just like me.”
Bellatrix gave her brother-in-law one of her usual uninterested glances.
“I think he looks like both of us,” Narcissa said, trying to ease the tension. “We look pretty similar ourselves.”
“What will you name him?”
“Lucius wants to give him his father’s name, but I’m not naming my son Abraxas.”
“Well, I’m not naming my son Cygnus.”
“Why not? Cygnus is a nice name! It means swan.”
“And Delphini means dolphin. Are you and your sister planning on starting a zoo in here?”
Bellatrix was insulted.
“How dare you mock the Dark Lord’s heir! You disgust me, Lucius. As for you, Cissy, you should know better. You cannot name him after our father! Your son isn’t a Black!”
“So, he cannot have the name of a constellation! Have you ever read a single book about our genealogy?”
“If my son is going to have the name of an animal, it had better be an impressive one. Swans aren’t particularly imposing. I prefer dragons.”
Narcissa thought it was a satisfactory compromise.
“How do you say dragon in Latin? Isn’t it… Draco?”
“I didn’t know you were fluent in Latin, Bellatrix.”
She directed a dreadful glare towards him.
“Futue te ipsum*.”
“My, even more fluent than I thought!”
Interrupting these moments of family warmth, Lord Voldemort entered the chamber, a baby carrier strapped onto his chest with little Delphini inside it. He had offered to take her with him that day, as everyone else in Malfoy Manor was busy with the arrival of the new baby. Lucius and Bellatrix stood up and bowed down to him. Narcissa, on the other hand, having delivered a baby a few hours earlier, simply tilted her head forward as she remained seated on the bed, the little boy peacefully sleeping in her arms.
“The House of Malfoy has a new heir then! Congratulations, Lucius. You too, Narcissa.”
“Thank you, my lord,” said Lucius. His wife nodded in agreement.
Bellatrix walked over to him, concerned about her daughter.
“Is Delphi alright, my lord? Has she been fed?”
“Of course she has, Bellatrix. Did you think I’d forget to feed my child? My very own flesh and blood? My reason for living?”
“I thought your reason for living was world domination, my lord,” she said innocently, remembering all those times during sex when he would literally mutter world domination right before he climaxed. (We apologize once again to our younger readers - no, no, to all of our readers. But art requires sacrifices.)
“Well, yes. That one too.”
Bellatrix extended her arms towards the child. She undid the straps and the little girl slipped into her embrace, joyfully clutching a few of her mother’s curls.
“Delphi, let go of mummy’s hair, darling!” she muttered between her teeth.
The girl pulled one of the curls, plucking out a few hairs. Bellatrix grimaced in pain.
“You should tie it in a ponytail,” suggested Lucius, a verified expert in hair care.
Bellatrix, who was secretly jealous of him and his perfect silky blond hair - given her own uncontrollable mane - made a face at him. She had spent hours in the bathroom, trying to find the products that he used, but she eventually figured that he kept them hidden somewhere else. And she was too embarrassed to ask him.
“Look at Auntie Cissy, Delphi! Look at what she’s holding!”
Delphi, still fascinated by her hair-pulling trophy, glanced at her aunt with indifference.
“It’s a baby! It’s your cousin, Delphi, come say hi!”
She sat by her sister on the bed and pointed at the tiny infant in her arms - he still looked all red and wrinkly, wrapped in a diaper, with some platinum blond fuzz growing on top of his head.
“His name is Draco - it means dragon,” Bellatrix explained to her daughter.
Delphi seemed skeptical for a moment, and then proceeded to extend her arm towards the baby’s head, in an attempt to widen her collection of different-coloured hair tufts.
“No! Delphi!” her mother yelled as she wrenched her away from her innocent victim. “This is enough. I think we should give you your bath now.”
Narcissa cradled the blond-haired baby in her arms and made a mental note never to leave Draco and Delphi alone during playtime.
*futue te ipsum = go fuck yourself
Yes, we can hear you going "but Draco and Delphini are constellations!" We know. It's just another one of our silly jokes. Please, tolerate it :)
I bet y'all thought this was over! You thought we wouldn't update it anymore! Well, you were wrong! Here's a nice new chapter for you, and we have promised another two so we'll deliver!
The logs were crackling peacefully in the fireplace of the enormous dining hall while Lucius was engrossed in his newly purchased book. He was waiting for dinner to be served, and thought to kill his time shuffling through the pages. Just then, his wife came in, holding their son.
"Hello love," she said, "what are you reading?"
He showed her the cover of the book: <i>Rare & majestic breeds of peacocks</i>.
She sighed in exasperation.
"Lucius, how many times do I have to tell you that we cannot have peacocks here? Don't you remember I'm allergic to them?"
"Yes, darling, of course I remember! But look here! It says that albino peacocks are hypoallergenic!"
He showed her the page he was referring to. Narcissa sighed yet again.
"Oh, alright, you may bring one albino peacock then."
"Only one? Can't they be two?"
"Fine then, two, but make sure they are of the same gender. I don't want a herd of peacock hatchlings running around. We have enough baby trouble as it is."
Lucius nodded obediently, a huge idiotic smile plastered on his face.
She sat down opposite him and placed Draco in his special baby chair. Lucius couldn't be happier; he was going to fulfil his lifelong ambition of having peacocks, and also looking forward to a finally peaceful night with his wife and child. Bellatrix and Delphi were absent, accompanying Voldemort to something - the Malfoys hadn't asked what the occasion was, satisfied with simply having Malfoy Manor to themselves for a night. The house elves entered, carrying platters with Lucius's favourite dish; stuffed pheasant with pinecone seeds, plums, and a raspberry dressing. After they had been served their portions, he grabbed the fork and knife and licked his lips in anticipation.
Just when he was about to take his first bite, a deafening sound flooded the dining hall as over twenty Death Eaters apparated simultaneously in the room. Narcissa let out a horrified scream, baby Draco began to wail at the top of his lungs and Lucius ducked under the table. Completely unfazed, Voldemort walked over to the head of the table, calmly sat down and flicked his wand. All the dishes disappeared, much to Lucius's despair, as the rest of the Death Eaters took their places.
"My lord, what is happening?"
Voldemort looked at him as if he had just asked him the most obvious thing in the world.
"Why, we're having a meeting, of course."
"What? Why didn't you notify me?"
That was a mistake.
"YOU PILE OF HIPPOGRIFF SHIT! YOU FORGOT ABOUT THE MEETING?" his sister-in-law affectionately scolded him.
He was certain that nobody had notified him, but claiming so would put him in an even worse position. Thus, he decided to shut his mouth and suffer through it silently.
Bellatrix sat down next to Voldemort, holding their daughter.
"Why have you gathered us here this evening, my lord?" she inquired as she gazed at him adoringly.
"I would be willing to inform you all about the topic of our discussion, but I shall attribute this duty to Snape, since he is the one who has undertaken the responsibility of doing the research."
"What kind of research, my l-"
"Shut the fuck up Bellatrix, I just said Snape will tell you everything! Why did I ever even fuck you?"
Narcissa covered her son's ears while most Death Eaters present shoved their fingers in theirs, some of them even beginning to chant <i>la la la la la</i>.
"Well, my lord, you seemed to rather enjoy it at the time..." she muttered.
"I WAS THINKING ABOUT WORLD DOMINATION YOU DUMB BITCH!"
Bellatrix’s face twisted into a deeply hurt expression as she returned her attention to her daughter, pretending her world hadn't just shattered.
"Now, returning to our original topic... Will you begin, Severus?"
Snape nodded and began to explain the prophecy he had overheard, as well as his attempts to locate the infants that could fit the requirements.
"The results of my research point to two boys. One of them is the son of Frank and Alice Longbottom, purebloods and well-known Aurors."
"... And the other one?"
"Oh, I don't believe the second child would interest you, my lord. He is merely the offspring of James Potter and Lily Evans, a mudblood. Surely he can't be worthy of defeating you."
"Nonsense, Snape, we must consider every possible option," said Voldemort as Delphi was escaping her mother's embrace and climbing onto the table. Bellatrix paid no mind to her, as she was still heartbrokenly replaying the humiliating exchange in her head. The little girl giddily crawled around on the mahogany table, passing before her father's servants and gazing at them with a look of superiority on her little face.
Draco started bouncing in his seat, envious of his cousin's freedom, and whined until his mother picked him up and tried to comfort him.
"What is it, darling? What do you want?"
He cried and pointed at the table.
"No, Draco, I can't let you on the table, love. What- what are you-"
The baby had escaped her grip and was now climbing onto the table, crawling towards Delphi.
"No! Come back here!"
"Let him go, Narcissa, they just want to play," remarked the Dark Lord. "A fucking good time never hurt nobody."
"What? I didn't say anything. Proceed, Snape."
"Oh, I'm finished, my lord."
"Of course you are. I knew that. I was testing you. Now! We have to figure out which one of those boys the prophecy is about."
"Surely not the second one, my lord, a filthy halfblood like him..."
"Silence! We have to decide responsibly, like the mature adults that we are. Any suggestions?"
At that, Delphi began to attack her cousin, who was now crawling terrified back into his mother's arms, Narcissa sporting her best <i>I told you so</i> face.
"Of course!" said the Dark Lord, suddenly inspired. "Delphi, come here."
The little girl turned to her father.
"Yes, baby girl, come here. Come to papa, that's it," he chided as the baby approached him.
He extended his arms towards her, his hands clenched into fists.
"Now, the left one is for Longbottom, and the right one is for Potter. Pick one, Delphi."
The Death Eaters exchanged troubled looks of disbelief, witnessing the one they thought to be the most powerful man in the wizarding world engage in such bullshit.
Delphi examined the two fists, hovering over each of them momentarily. Finally, she lifted her little hand and slapped Voldemort’s right fist.
"IT IS DECIDED THEN! POTTER IS THE ONE I MUST GET RID OF!"
Snape froze in his seat. After recovering from the initial shock, he abruptly rose, overturning his chair in the process.
"My lord, I forgot to lock the Dumbledore - I mean THE DOOR of my house... without the... Dumble..."
Voldemort looked at him in surprised confusion.
"The door? Who uses doors in the wizarding world, Severus?"
"Uh... I just feel safer knowing that my doors are locked, my lord. I'm sorry but I have to go..."
Voldemort was already planning the upcoming murder in his head, and ignored Snape, who promptly disapparated. He turned to the remaining Death Eaters.
"I suppose there is nothing else left to be said. You are dismissed. And don't forget; tomorrow morning at eight we'll meet up for our next terror attack! Don't forget to bring your masks and your cloaks - we don't want anyone to recognise us!"
With that, the Death Eaters disappeared as suddenly as they had appeared, leaving Lucius, Narcissa, Bella, Draco, Delphi and Voldemort alone.
"My daughter and I are now going to go upstairs and braid each other's hair! Well... her hair, I mean, I have no hair. See that no one disturbs us!"
Lucius was very disappointed. He loved having his hair braided and would have liked to participate. With a sigh, he and his wife retired to their bedroom, carrying Draco, while Narcissa promised him that she would braid his hair instead, bringing back the light in his eyes. Bellatrix was left alone in the dining hall.
"He... didn't enjoy it?"
A single tear rolled down her eye.
Delphini’s first year of existence passed by rather peacefully. As most of the Death Eater attacks took place at night, her mornings were usually spent with her parents. If the weather was good, Bellatrix would push the baby stroller in the vast garden of Malfoy Manor, stopping occasionally to viciously torture insects or small woodland creatures for her daughter’s amusement. The baby would laugh cheerfully then, a sound that somewhat echoed Bellatrix’s deranged cackle - her signature battle cry.
Despite being quite busy with all kinds of issues, Voldemort always tried to spend time with his daughter as well. Ever since her impeccable display of skill and power at that practice session, he started taking her along to work more often. It became a common sight for his Death Eaters to have Delphi attend practice, or join them in important Inner Circle meetings, or even accompany them in battle, strapped to the Dark Lord’s chest in a baby carrier. Bellatrix took great pride in her daughter’s status as their Master’s second-in-command, and couldn’t understand why Narcissa worried so much about the child coming along in missions. Her sister had been excused from participating, now that she had to take care of her own baby boy - besides, she had never been one of Voldemort’s most valuable assets to begin with, and her absence was barely noticeable in the battlefield.
Snape thanked his good fortune for being proficient in Occlumency, since most of his thoughts nowadays were of how this baby business was hurting their image. He fought his urge to slap his own forehead in despair every time he recruited another young follower, having lured him in with tales about the glorious Dark Lord and his unforgiving extermination agenda, only for Voldemort to present himself before the boy holding a toddler and a baby bottle. But of course he never dared say anything, he never openly doubted his Lord’s choices, and he pretended to remain loyal and devoted despite his frustration. And so he didn’t protest when Delphi was assigned to “assist” him in conducting the training (during which she was mainly pulling his hair, managing to pluck out a fair amount), nor when he was forced to feed her during a particularly heated battle while both of her parents were busy with some brutal slaughtering, nor when the Dark Lord called more and more frequent meetings to discuss topics like baby food recipes, and what colour Delphi’s nursery should be painted, and what they should name her pet snake.
The snake was a present for his daughter’s first birthday. They had thrown her a nice little party in Malfoy Manor, with a cake and presents and everything. Bellatrix and Narcissa were initially going to bake and decorate the cake themselves, but after a fight between them involving a kitchen completely covered in flour, an exchange of hexes, and pieces of raw dough stuck in Bellatrix’s hair, they agreed to let the house elf do it - the Black sisters had never been suited for household chores.
The big day finally arrived, and it was truly a wonder to witness the Dark Lord storming in with a cone-shaped party hat and a box wrapped in glossy green paper and tied with a yellow ribbon.
“Happy birthday, Delphi,” he said and kissed the little girl’s forehead as he took her into his arms. “Here’s your present.”
Bellatrix insisted that they open the presents in the end, a suggestion that made him rather nervous, but he decided not to reveal the contents of the box and thus ruin the surprise. Little Draco had taken to crawling around on the floor, bumping his head on the furniture, when his mother picked him up and took him to the dining table. They all sat around the cake, with Lord Voldemort and his daughter in the middle, and sang her the happy birthday song.
When the time came for the little girl to blow out the candle, the exact opposite happened; under her steady look, the flame began to burn brighter, bigger, until the entire cake caught on fire, and then the tablecloth. Narcissa screamed and yanked her son away, Lucius ran for his life, Bellatrix’s eyes gleamed at her daughter’s destructive mania and Voldemort simply laughed, pointing his wand at the fiery hell and releasing a generous amount of water. Delphi laughed too and clapped her little hands, very satisfied with the looks of terror she extracted from her aunt and uncle, as well as the looks of pride and adoration she received from her parents. She never failed to impress them.
Despite being still quite horrified, the Malfoys pretended nothing was wrong and sat in the living room with their master and Bellatrix as Delphini was now eagerly attacking her presents. The first box she ripped apart was from Lucius and Narcissa; it contained a hair brush with her name engraved on the handle.
“It’s charmed,” Lucius informed them, “and capable of detangling even the messiest hair.”
According to his wife, every time their mother attempted to detangle her eldest daughter’s hair, little Bellatrix would throw uncontrollable magical tantrums, destroying every household item in a radius of five meters. Seeing that his niece had inherited her mother’s untameable curls, he thought it fit to equip her with this brush, protecting his house and his sanity in advance. After all, hair care was his specialty.
Delphi proceeded to lacerate the wrapping around her mother’s present; it was a children’s book, an educational tale about the importance of blood purity, with vivid illustrations. Bellatrix promised her that they’d read it together before bed, and Delphi giggled in excitement.
The green box was the only one remaining. Delphi threw away the packaging and lifted the lid to see a pair of little eyes staring back at her. A huge smile was painted on her face. She extended her arms into the box and let the small snake climb onto her. It dragged itself all the way up to her neck and then slipped inside her dress, tickling her belly. She burst out laughing and fell on the floor, wriggling around. Proud of its success, the snake crawled back out and wrapped itself around Delphi’s tiny arm. It hissed at her, and she hissed back.
Lord Voldemort was definitely not prepared for this.
“Did you hear that? She spoke to him, she spoke to the snake! My daughter is a Parselmouth, just like her father!”
He kneeled beside the child and hissed at the snake too. The snake hissed back. Delphi hissed at her father, and Voldemort hissed back at his daughter. Soon, the three of them were having a lively conversation, and joyously laughing at each other’s clever jokes.
However, they had a hard time picking a name for Delphi’s new pet; Bella’s suggestions were too aggressive, Narcissa’s were too mild, and Lucius’s were just plain nonsense. Distressed by the situation, Voldemort decided to call another Inner Circle meeting, begging his most trusted followers to help him come up with a good name.
“Is the snake male or female, my lord?” asked Snape.
His master informed him the snake was female.
“Well, then, you simply need to look into Greek myths, my lord. An obvious suggestion would be Hydra, after the legendary monster slain by Hercules. But if you’d like something less stereotypical, how about a tribute to the Gorgon who fell victim to Perseus, that monstrous creature with snakes instead of hair and an appearance so dreadful that whoever confronted her was turned into stone?”
Voldemort was fascinated by this story, and inquired the name of the Gorgon.
“Medusa, my lord. I believe your daughter’s pet snake will be honoured to bear her name.”
When he returned to the Manor, he discussed it with the little snake. She appeared to be very satisfied with Snape’s suggestion, and so it was settled; the new member of the family officially received the name of Medusa, and she spent her days there accompanying Delphini in all of her mischiefs. The two of them would crawl menacingly around the house, wreaking havoc everywhere, under Bellatrix’s encouraging looks and Voldemort’s proud glances. Lucius sometimes recalled that day when he had first resented his sister-in-law moving in; how little he had known back then, and yet how much.
Ooooh we're almost at the finale!! Stick around to read it very soon...