The newspapers have been bestir - almost afire - with lurid tales of attacks on notable politicians the last few months. Some claim to have discovered a pattern of viciousness going back even further, cloaked until now. It sets an itch under Bellatrix's skin, a fascination curling through her mind.
Dark creatures, they're blaming. A sudden surge across multiple groups. Werewolves tore a Wizengamot member to bloody shreds, shown as a discrete shot of grainy grey splatters on a lighter grey floor in the newspaper. Something drowned and strangled a lobbyist who'd been pushing for more detailed, more stringently enforced registration of 'members of known criminal species;' the newspaper only showed the riverbank where she went in. A vampire supposedly left a paper pusher in the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures as nothing more than an empty husk that crumbled into dust when touched. More, enough to whip the papers into a frenzy, new material every time the old worries grew stale. A symbol was left at every single crime - a snake curled around a sun, eating it.
And then a month ago -
A letter went out to every newspaper, every tabloid, every gossip rag. A voice took over every radio station, all at once. Smooth. Beautiful. Cultured.
The speaker claimed responsibility for the attacks, called herself the leader of the Final Dawn. A movement, she claimed, to tear out the rot that had seeped to the core of Wizarding society. To build it anew, and bring into the light all hidden things - all crimes, all peoples that the wizards would shove to the edges. She spoke briefly, wonderfully, of freedom, of renewal, of wrongs that must be righted - of justice which would burn its enemies and warm its allies.
Bellatrix's heart hasn't known how to settle since. Everyone's talking about it. Everyone wants to know what she thinks, it seems, the rebellious and disaffected daughter - eldest of her generation - of the Most Noble House of Black, the most respectable members of Wizarding society, the most ardent supporters of human safety, of restrictions on all things dangerous and uncouth.
She's taken to grinning at them and asking what they think will happen. Most of them falter, claim the terrorists will be caught, of course. Executed, them and everyone who supports them.
(Such boring classmates, she has.)
Fay - not Miss Reynolds, pretty Fay who smiles secretly at her, who promised to take Bellatrix on a date the day of her graduation, who said she has a small apartment of her own, and Bellatrix doesn't have to go back to her family's trap before getting her feet under her - she's the only one worth talking to at all, her clever eyes flicking over articles, drawing out patterns idly -
She doesn't find the same points fascinating as Bellatrix does, but, well. She mostly seems somewhat amused that Bellatrix wants to know exactly how each person died. So. Better than anyone else. (And she makes Bellatrix's heart flutter as much as each new report of an attack does, as much as rereading the announcement from the Final Dawn...)
Bellatrix graduates with the rest of her class - top of her class, she has every NEWT and a good number of extra OWLs and it's so hideously boring, magic's fun and delightful but Bellatrix hates being trapped in school for it. The ceremony is labeled as required. There's no punishment she could ever care about - they'll confer her degree anyways - so she skips, grabs Fay by the arm and drags her off with a laugh to some scandalously low brow muggle place, dark and smokey with amazing food, Fay laughing -
Bellatrix hasn't decided for sure to move in with Fay. It's - a big step, and she has enough money from her parents who still haven't disowned her for some reason to exchange it for muggle money and splurge on some ridiculously fancy place Fay recommends. There's three inns in the entirety of Wizarding Britain, all for people with too few connections to stay with a host, and none of them have room service, or glass elevators, or water fixtures, or - anything, Bellatrix is half tempted to empty as much of her family's vaults as she can get away with and run.
Maybe she can get Fay to run with her. The woman's been teacher's assistant for Defense for all of a single year. She can't be that attached.
She's lying in her wonderfully soft bed, figuring out how the television works, when there's a little tap-tap-tap on the glass door to the balcony. Bellatrix levers herself up, groaning, and looks over to see a raven - not a normal mail bird at all, the Ministry can never agree if they're Dark creatures or not -
It's got a letter clutched in its talons and looks kind of annoyed.
Bellatrix raises an eyebrow, sliding out of bed and walking over to open the door. "For me?" she asks, earning herself an unimpressed stink eye.
The raven flaps in, dropping the letter on her desk, and then caws at her. Bellatrix laughs, heading over to the small pile of interesting foods and snacks she got earlier, and says, "Help yourself." She picks up the letter, rubbing the thick parchment between her fingers as the raven helps itself of some snack or another. She opens the flap, pulls out a little card -