Bellatrix returned to the Dark Lord, as she had said she would, for dinner that evening. It wasn't until afterwards that she had a chance to speak to him. They were sat together on the sofa, Voldemort's arm draped loosely around Bellatrix's shoulders, a glass of wine in his hand.
"What did you do today?" Voldemort asked, breaking the comfortable silence.
"Helped Narcissa move some of her things to Malfoy Manor." Bellatrix rested her head down on his shoulder. "It's nothing compared to this house."
"It has ancient magical protection surrounding it, which makes it far safer," Voldemort responded. "Old magic is always better."
Bellatrix looked at him briefly, before smiling. She knew he would explain soon. "The wedding is in a week today. Narcissa is ecstatic."
"Did you have a date in mind for ours, my Lord?" Bellatrix asked softly. The arm around her tightened.
"I thought you might like to decide."
Bellatrix looked back to him again, before turning her body around, putting her arms tightly about his neck. She leant forwards, and kissed his neck, just until she heard him release a gentle, lustful sigh. "My birthday," she whispered in his ear.
"Of course," Voldemort replied quietly, gaining some control back now, his hand coming to rest in her hair. "The perfect excuse for a party, beloved."
"That's just what I thought!" Bellatrix responded, laughing, kissing him briefly on the lips. "Though, I don't expect us to be staying up too late."
Voldemort smiled knowingly. "I couldn't agree more," he murmured, pushing her up slightly so he could look into her eyes. "We will be very firmly married." He kissed her gently on the lips. "We really must begin your training tomorrow."
"What kept you today?" Bellatrix asked, curiously.
"The Aurors were out. I like to try and keep their numbers down the best I can so we took advantage." He paused. "And more that die, less people will want to join up. Of course, there are some that will join regardless of the death rates." He scowled. "And some that refuse to die, no matter how hard we try."
"Alastair Moody for one," Voldemort said darkly. "You'd know him if you saw him. We took out his eye a while ago, and he's got a new one now. A magical one. They say it turned him mad."
"Surely that's a good thing?" Bellatrix asked, slightly confused.
"He's made destroying my cause his mission in life. Revenge, perhaps. We've probably killed a lot of his friends."
"I will make his destruction my aim," Bellatrix said firmly.
"One day," Voldemort replied, looking back to her, and Bellatrix was sure that she could see an element of adoration in his eyes. "There's a fair journey ahead of you first."
"So do you think that if I can beat you in a duel, I can beat him?" Bellatrix asked with a grin.
"Don't be cheeky," Voldemort snapped, but he kissed her anyway. "But yes, I imagine so. I'd enjoy it if you beat me."
"That's my first aim then," Bellatrix said, and now she was laughing. "Please make love to me tonight," she added, looking carefully at him.
"Not tonight," Voldemort said, stroking her hair and drinking some of his wine, not looking towards her at all. "I'm tired. I can see that satisfying your needs is going to need a lot of energy."
Bellatrix snorted. "Hardly. I'm gagging for it."
"Don't care." Voldemort drained his glass, before standing up, Bellatrix still cradled in his arms. "Bed time."
"You're boring," Bellatrix proclaimed, but she was still laughing. She hadn't been expecting him to say yes at all.
"I know, and horribly ancient," Voldemort added, smirking.
"I still think you look about thirty."
"I'm glad, because that was how I brewed the glamour potion to make me look. I would have been concerned if I looked any different." He laid Bellatrix down on the bed, and pulled the covers around her, before turning around and reaching for her make-up removal wipes and her moisturiser, and handing it to her with a smile. "I'm wrinkly under this."
Bellatrix smiled. He already knew her needs very well. She began to remove her make-up. "No. I don't believe anything about wrinkles or glamour potions. You're perfect as you are."
Voldemort looked over his shoulder at her. "Careful. My ego likes to be massaged."
"I'm sure it does," Bellatrix muttered, but he didn't hear her. After a moment, he slid into bed next to her, reaching over to kiss her cheek.
"You don't need that make-up."
Bellatrix looked over at him, surprised. "Really?"
"A bit of that black stuff around your eyes and that sexy red lipstick you insist upon teasing me with. The rest of it... You don't need. Your skin is so gorgeous, you radiate beauty and confidence so much more without it." He reached over, and traced a finger down her cheek. "And your skin is so much softer."
A very small, smug smile appeared on Bellatrix's lips. "You really think so?"
Voldemort sighed impatiently. "When have I ever lied to you?"
Bellatrix's smile widened. "You really are... The perfect lover."
"You haven't proposed properly yet," Bellatrix said, smirking at him.
"I did try last night, but you, of course, didn't notice." Voldemort sighed.
"When?" Bellatrix demanded. "I would have noticed that, I think."
"Look under your pillow," Voldemort replied, smirking knowingly. Half glaring at him, Bellatrix lifted her pillow. Sitting there was a small, black velvet box. She immediately softened.
"Aaww," she said, picking it up cautiously.
"I put it there last night. When you didn't discover it then, I was hoping you would find it this morning when you woke up... You're so beautiful when you've just woken up." Bellatrix gaze became curious. "You don't like to speak as much." Voldemort sniggered as Bellatrix fixed him, this time, a full glare. "Open it," he urged.
Slowly, Bellatrix opened the box. There were two rings inside. One was just a plain silver band, which Bellatrix assumed was the engagement ring, and the other was silver, and it looked almost like a tiny snake coiled forming the band, a huge diamond in the middle, the tail on one side and the head, with tiny, pinprick sized diamonds for eyes looking up at her, on the other.
"Marry me?" Voldemort asked her softly.
Bellatrix looked up at him, a smile breaking out on her fact. "Yes!" She replied. She looked back to the ring, shocked still. "I didn't expect anything like that."
"What do you think?"
"It's..." Words failed her for a moment.
"Perfect," Voldemort said quietly, slipping the plain ring onto her wedding finger. He was suddenly staring at her, directly in the eyes. "You are perfect." For the first time, Bellatrix felt herself colour under his fierce gaze. Voldemort smirked darkly. "My bride appears to be blushing."
"Shh," Bellatrix replied, pecking him on the lips. "Promise me we can start training tomorrow. I want to be able to cause you discomfort when you tease me."
"I promise, but only if you go to sleep soon."
Bellatrix pulled her pillow back down, set the box on the bedside table, and laid down properly. "Now you're the only one that's holding me up."
Voldemort smiled. "Minx." He raised his wand, and extinguished the candles that adorned the room, before he put his arms around her, and pulled her into their normal stance for sleeping. "Goodnight."
"Night." Bellatrix reached down and kissed his wrist.
"Love you," Voldemort said sleepily, and Bellatrix could almost hear his smile.
"Love you more," Bellatrix replied, fiddling absently with the new ring around her finger. Five more weeks, and the wait would be up.
Bellatrix was stood opposite the Dark Lord, wand at the ready. She could feel a slight burst of nerves flood through her, but it soon passed. This was the first time she'd ever performed magic properly in front of him, and that thought scared her.
"You are familiar with the rules of a duel?" Voldemort asked her coolly.
"Yes, my Lord," Bellatrix replied, smiling confidently at him. His smirk and raised eyebrow made her think that he didn't actually believe her confidence.
"Good. Let's not have any serious injuries, please." Bellatrix nodded, slightly relieved. "We begin, then." His smirk widened as he slowly leant forwards in a shallow bow. Bellatrix followed suit, her eyes not leaving his for a second.
Bellatrix took a step back, raised her wand above her head and flicked hard, throwing a silent stinging jinx at him. At the same time, a blue ball of light flew towards her. As soon as the first jinx had left her wand, she spun around and blocked the blue spell. Voldemort had blocked her stinging jinx.
Voldemort was already on to the next spell, a green jet of light headed her way. Bellatrix ducked, feeling it fly over her hair and hearing a loud bang as it hit the wall. She ignored it, and sent a Conjunctivitus spell towards him. He blocked it as soon as it left the wand, and started to move towards her, his wand raised for another attack.
"Impedimenta!" Bellatrix thought, flicking her wand, and then sending the next one right away which was "Incarcerous!" Again, they were both blocked right after. She narrowed her eyes, and decided to change tactics. Stepped backwards from him, she raised her wand and fired the same spell repeatedly, in different directions. Sure enough, the last one she fired hit Voldemort in the side, and he stumbled.
Laughing now, Bellatrix danced gleefully in front of him. Voldemort looked up, laughing also, and suddenly a wave of pain hit Bellatrix. It was the Cruciatus Curse. She fell to the ground, trying to keep her screams to herself. Soon after, the pain vanished, and Voldemort was right by her side.
"You haven't felt that before, have you?" Voldemort said softly, pulling her hair gently off of her face.
"No," Bellatrix replied, breathing heavily as she sat up.
"It's best that the first time you feel it is in this situation. And I remain a firm believer that for a spell like the Cruciatus Curse, you should feel it before you can begin to understand it." He pulled her to a standing position, before kissing her lightly on the lips. "You did well."
"You always knew what I was going to do!" Bellatrix said, her voice still slightly shaky.
"Legitimacy," Voldemort replied, smirking. "There aren't many that are capable of learning it. Most find it exceptionally difficult. Most Aurors don't bother, most of them are too stupid anyway. You will be one of the only Death Eater's with the capability."
"Why do they not tell us about it at Hogwarts?" Bellatrix asked, calming down slightly now.
"They don't tell you a lot of things, trust me," Voldemort replied, and he sounded irritated. "The curriculum is so limited. They're so paranoid that it will turn people to the 'dark side'. This is why I am training you. Students of Durmstrang all leave highly trained, in all aspects. It doesn't leave room for curiosity. Students from Hogwarts are more likely to dabble in the dark arts because it is all so unknown to them. The Durmstrang boys are so immune to everything." He seemed to be getting more and more agitated. "If I were to run a school..."
"Darling," Bellatrix said quietly, and put her arms around him. "Calm down. If you were to run a school, it would be the finest in the world. Your teaching methods are very successful."
Voldemort stroked her hair gently. "I want to win this war for a number of reasons. The Ministry of Magic is blind to what is happening in the real world. All of this muggle loving... When not a hundred years ago, our kind were being burnt at the stake for the magic that runs through our blood. Dumbledore, he is seen as the protector of the people, ever since he defeated Grindlewald, but he has lied to them and deceived them, and now he is corrupting the minds of every single magical child in our country."
Bellatrix was utterly surprised at the passion in his voice, she'd never heard anything like it. "I want to change things. I am already labelled as the Dark Lord, for my curiosity of both sides of magic, and I will keep that with me forever now, I know. I don't mind... I am a dark wizard. But I want to make the Ministry of Magic open its eyes to how muggle's will be our destruction, how magical blood is gradually getting weaker, and tainted, and wasted, and I want Dumbledore removed from the school, and our future generations to be taught everything. I don't care who I have to kill to get there."
Bellatrix rested her head on his shoulder. "My Lord, I swear I will do everything within my power to assist..."
"I do not need your promises, Bella." He kissed her hair. "All I want is your love."
"You have it," Bellatrix replied.
Voldemort smiled. "Loyalty is included within love. Love, however, is not always included within loyalty."
"I understand," Bellatrix murmured.
"Some of my followers believe in what I believe. The Malfoy's, the Rosier's, the Lestrange brothers, the Black's, of course... The purest, noble families. They know and understand what I am doing, why I am doing it. The rest of them..." He sighed. "Then there's the bloodthirsty ones, like Crabbe and Goyle and McNair. Useful, nonetheless, even if they exceptionally stupid." Bellatrix chuckled. "Though," Voldemort continued. "I won't deny I am quite sadistic."
"I wouldn't believe you if you did," Bellatrix said snidely.
Voldemort laughed, brightening up. "So. I was planning on calling a gathering tonight." He gazed sharply at her. "I suppose you wish to attend?"
"Yes, my Lord," Bellatrix said quickly, looking into his eyes. "You do not have a thing to worry about, I won't mess up, I pro-"
"I never thought you would mess up," Voldemort said, raising a hand calmly to silence her. "And you won't, I know." He paused, before placing his arm around her shoulders. "I shall formally introduce you to them, as a Death Eater. You know that you join lowest in the ranks and work upwards. The fact I am training you, marrying you..." He took her hand, and briefly kissed it. "Will be disregarded. Since you are still in training, you will not be sent out on any missions."
"I didn't expect, or want, any favours, my Lord," Bellatrix said hastily.
"I know, beloved." He kissed her. "Forgive me if I am stating the obvious. I naturally want to give you a head start... Though I am not sure that you need one." He suddenly frowned, looking at her. "You're awfully tall today."
Bellatrix smiled mischievously. The shoes she was wearing under her long robes were very, very high, thin stiletto shoes, in a shiny black colour. "How on earth did you duel wearing them?" Bellatrix shrugged.
"Heels are my thing."
Voldemort kissed her again, laughing. "You've proven that you can fight in them. You can wear them."
Bellatrix smiled and kissed him back. "Thank you," she said, grinning. "I suppose you gain from that too?"
"Mmm." Voldemort raised his eyebrow. "They do have certain... Merits... You incredibly sexy thing..." He pulled her close, kissing her hard. Suddenly, he pulled away, and Bellatrix saw the reason - the lust in his eyes.
"Take me, Master," Bellatrix murmured, panting slightly.
"Enough!" Voldemort said, and it was loud enough to make her jump. "Bellatrix. Please." He pushed away from her, to the other side of the room. Bellatrix was shaking very slightly, shocked that he actually seemed angry with her.
"I'm sorry, my Lord," she whispered, her words faltering nervously. She didn't want him to curse her again.
"I've never wanted anything so badly," Voldemort said, his voice soft again. He turned to look at her. "I know you feel the same about me, beloved. We just have a month to go. It's been a year almost, and we haven't done anything. One month should be easy, just as long as you make it so."
Bellatrix turned and ran across the room, launching herself into his arms. "I'm sorry," she repeated. "I didn't mean to say it. It was more of a thought which slipped out."
"Shh," Voldemort said soothingly. He put his hands back in her hair, amazed at how she'd backed down right away. He had been concerned that she would want to argue with him too readily, but it looked as if her only thought was to please him, and keep him happy. He was relieved. There had always been a danger that she was going to be too headstrong, with her own ideas, but her faithfulness to him blocked that part of her out. It was like she softened immediately when he was in her sights. The idea of that was odd to Voldemort, he loved her but he wasn't going to devote his entire life to pleasing her desires and nothing more. His other aims came first.
And from that moment, Voldemort always knew that Bellatrix loved him more than he was ever going to love her.
I'm dragging this out now. I originally had chapter 11 down as "The Malfoy Wedding".
Sorry to keep you all waiting for the happy event!