• She never could understand the outpouring of pity that she met with every time she saw her sister. The looks that seemed to whisper “He’ll never love you back,” the polite questions about how things were with Rodolphus (stagnant, bland, flaccid, and a whole host of other unpleasant adjectives that contradicted her simple answer of “fine”). She assured Cissy that their bed had played host to some action at least. But it didn’t compare, didn’t even come close to being on the same spectrum – like comparing a child’s drawing of a candle to the full heat and light and power of the sun – to being near Him.

    Once He walked past her and the air He displaced caused the page she was reading to move a fraction of an inch – electricity, rapture, she went weak in the knees – before falling back to its original position. His robes once brushed the leg of her chair and in that one instant all of Rodolphus’s earnest ministrations were wiped from her mind forever. She remembered the first time He ever spoke her name more clearly than she remembered her wedding night. The tip of His wand on her arm as he marked her actually made her scream, something her husband had never managed. One look from him could satisfy her deepest desires more than any aphrodisiac-induced night of “romance.”

    He was – there wasn’t even a word for what he was. All the world, everything, food, water, air, sex, the ground on which she stood, the blood in her veins and the heart that kept it moving and the brain that controlled it all. God, devil, angels, demons, the magic as it flowed from her wand. He encompassed and surpassed them all just by being. A word from Him was tantamount to all the voices of the universe speaking to her at once. She worshipped Him the way monks worshipped their god, lashes on the back, fasting and silence, all because He wished it.

    Once he even allowed her to speak his name. Voldemort. Everything she ate from that moment on tasted like dirt next to the thrill of his name on her tongue. What was love next to fervor, a warm meal and a goodnight kiss next to the acknowledgement of God Himself? Cissy’s tears after each fight with Lucius set her craving the pain He sent down her spine even as she wept for having failed Him.

    One night Rodolphus accused her of wanting Him more than her own husband. She tortured him thoroughly for that. He could not be wanted, obtained, or owned any more than the very air. She did not want anything. He knew her name, that was enough to satisfy every need she ever had, ever would have.

    Azkaban was paradise to her because she was there for Him. She grew addicted to the dementors’ tortures, the visions of Him flowing through her brain, not happy, no, but more powerful than any Patronus. She gladly gave her sanity up for His sake, nay, at His command. She would go to hell if He told her to. What was Azkaban compared to His displeasure?

    She played with the stones that broke off from the walls of her cell, etching His name into her skin and licking away the blood. The wall behind her cracked, air seeping in and moving her hair. His presence washed over her, not a dream, not a vision, but Him, solid and there, His own voice commanding her to rise, His hand on her mark, ecstasy, her heart almost burst in her chest, His own hand on her skin.

    She rose.