“Stop your dreaming!” Aunt Walburga snapped, swaying to a stop as she almost trod on the three girls. Bellatrix wondered with delicate disgust whether she was seeing three of them, or six. She’d certainly depleted Daddy’s wine enough tonight. Her son was toddling around somewhere - if he was lucky, somebody would be keeping an eye on him - and there was no doubt she shouldn’t be drinking, as her stomach was bulging again.
When Bellatrix continued to study her impassively, she barked something unintelligible and wove away in the other direction. “Miserable old bat,” Andromeda muttered.
“As if it isn’t bad enough that she blights he family with her existence. She’ll harm her sons, too,” Bellatrix agreed.
“It’s loud,” Narcissa said plaintively. “And smelly.”
Which was undeniably true - between the cigar smoke and the pervasive scent of drunkenness, their usually tidy sitting room was unpleasant tonight. The Crabbes, perhaps, would be expected to sink to this level, but not the Blacks. Never the Blacks.
“It does,” Bellatrix said, leaning forward and catching her sisters’ hands, drawing them back into the game. “But wait a few years. They’re a disgrace, but they’re getting old. When we’re grown up, things will be different.” She smiled. “Cissa, you’ll oversee the garden, and the flowers will be the talk of the guests…”
Her sister smiled delightedly, showing her missing teeth. “Will there be pink ones?”
“If you would like them,” Bellatrix promised, “then there will be pink flowers of all shades.”
Somebody in the group by the fire coughed heavily. Killing themselves off for us, Bellatrix thought, smiling. “And Andromeda, you will marry a fine, intelligent, well bred man.” Who isn’t your cousin. “You will have children, and you will take proper care of them. You’ll raise them to be Blacks, the way a Black should be.”
Andromeda smiled. “I’ll have a girl,” she said. “A beautiful girl, and she’ll be as talented as you.”
“Bella?” Narcissa asked softly. “What will you be doing.”
“I,” Bellatrix said, looking across the room, “will be managing the investments. I will be impressing the right people. I will be doing what our father, our uncle, their father should have done. I will be the man of the house, since the men seem incapable.”