Bellatrix descended the stairs of the Grand Staircase, leading into the ballroom in which her party was being held. Her dress had been delivered straight from London, it was dark purple satin - hugging her upper body tightly, and falling in long, flowing waves at her feet. Her hair was left loose, much to her mother's disgust, and she had swept deep, smoky purple eye shadow along her eyelids. The first person she saw was her cousin, Sirius, sulking in a corner. She pointedly ignored him, and moved onto the next person she saw - Lucius Malfoy.
"Ah look, the Dark Lord's protégé," he said, smoothly, into her ear. Bellatrix knew he would be smirking.
"Not jealous, are we?" Bellatrix teased. "You know he only trains the best."
"No, Black, he only trains you. No one else has ever received that privilege." Lucius leant closer. "Are you sleeping with him?"
Bellatrix merely laughed. "Perhaps, Lucius, perhaps," she said, and then noticed her best friend from school. "Excuse me, better people to talk to," she added, with a sly grin at the blonde. "Oi, Parkinson!" she called, to a tall, brown haired girl, with a squashed yet pretty face, who was standing lone at the bottom of the staircase.
"There you are! Happy Birthday!" Posey replied, coming forwards and hugging Bellatrix. "Who are you so dressed up for?"
Bellatrix took Posey's arm, and pulled her to one side. "Between you and me, the Dark Lord might be coming tonight. How exciting is that!" she said, excitedly.
Posey looked shocked, but still gave a girly squeal. "You've met him? He's coming to your birthday celebration?"
"I've done more then met him, I'm his protégé," Bellatrix said. "And he promised he would do his best to come. I've had letters from him too." Someone tapped lightly on her shoulder, and she turned around, recognising a man from the one meeting she had attended.
"Forgive the intrusion, Miss Black," he said bowing. "My name is Mr. Gibbon; it is a pleasure to meet you." He bent his head, and kissed her hand. "May I have the honour of dancing with you?" Bellatrix giggled, and nodded.
"Yes, you may, Mr. Gibbon," Bellatrix replied, taking his offered hand with a smile, and a wink over her shoulder at Posey, who sighed, and went to speak to Narcissa. When their hands were clasped together, and the dance began, Gibbon spoke.
"I have a message for you, from the Dark Lord," he said, quietly.
Bellatrix's eyes widened in shock. "Is he coming? When will he be here?" she said hurriedly.
"Yes, he is coming, Miss Black," Gibbon replied, with a smile. "He will be here just before midnight, but he wants you to meet him in the garden, by the fountain." Bellatrix glanced at the clock. It was just past ten. She sighed, and nodded. After another couple of dances, she excused herself from Gibbon, and went off to greet the rest of her guests, thanking them for their compliments and presents, with beautiful smiles and polite gestures, but inside she was so excited she could hardly breathe. When midnight finally approached, she went outside, with her glass of champagne, and another to give to Voldemort when he arrived. She sat on the side of the fountain, lost in thought, when she heard footsteps behind her. She turned, and saw the Dark Lord quietly standing there, staring at her.
A smile on her lips, she walked up to him, and silently handed him his drink, sweeping a curtsey to him. "My Lord," she murmured, the smile never leaving her lips.
"Happy Birthday, my sweet," Voldemort said, his hand slipping into her hair. He pulled her closer to him, kissing her, and Bellatrix could taste wine. "You look enchanting, I expect you have every single man in there hanging onto your every word."
"As always," she responded, taking a nervous sip of her drink. "I appreciated your letters."
Voldemort nodded. "I appreciated your replies."
"I enjoyed writing," Bellatrix replied levelly, eyes firmly on his.
The Dark Lord felt his stomach flip over a few times, as he struggled not to apparate her away to his home and ravish her. He reminded himself how much more beautiful, and matured she would be if he waited until she had finished school.
He remembered the black velvet box he had in his robes to give to her; he pulled it out and placed it in her hand. "A gift for the beautiful birthday girl," he murmured.
Bellatrix looked to him, eyes widened, as he pressed the box into her hands.
He guided her to sit down on the edge of the fountain, and he sat next to her, close, one arm around her. "Come, open it," he said. Bellatrix smiled, and slowly, opened the box. Inside was a thin, golden chain, very fine, with a shiny, gold, fairly small, rose pendant on the end. It was decorated with rubies, and Bellatrix could instantly tell it had cost him a fortune.
"Oh, it's exquisite," she breathed. "Thank you, thank you!" she said, putting her arms around his neck and cuddling close to him.
"Let me see what it looks like," Voldemort injected, picking the necklace out of the box, and putting it around her neck, doing the clasp at the back, first making sure her hair was out of the way. He gradually pulled strands back, and looked to her. He smiled. "The necklace becomes you," he said. "Or should I say, you become the necklace?"
Bellatrix laughed, kissing him. There were shivers running down his spine. This was going to be the death of him, he could tell. "This is my return gift, seeing you in your full radiance and beauty." They sat together for a while, kissing, and holding each other. "Bella, my sweet, I have business to discuss with your father…"
Bellatrix pouted. "Can your business not wait?"
Voldemort chuckled. "This business involves your future, my sweet, surely that is important to you?"
Bellatrix sighed, and nodded.
"If you ever wish to stay the night at my Manor, Bellatrix, or more, I first have to get your father's permission," he said softly. "You are aware of this."
"I'll be of age!" she burst out.
Voldemort grabbed her hair, pulling her to him for a long, passionate kiss. "Your father isn't a Death Eater, Bella," he said after a moment. "I do not want to upset him unless I have to. He is head of a very old family, my sweet, he is important, perhaps not quite as important as you, but nonetheless, he is. You will live with me after you have left school, but I would rather act with his permission." Bellatrix nodded. "I am sure he will be honoured at my interest in you, my dear, he should be extremely pleased that I am going to further your magical education, I have not trained anyone else before, and I do not intend to train anyone else after you."
With a smile, Voldemort stood up, and Bellatrix hastily did the same. "I'm sorry," she said. "I've missed you so."
"When I have spoken with him, I shall come back out and dance, and stay by your side until the party is over."
"Stay later," Bellatrix said; a mischievous glint in her eye. "I want to show you my room."
Voldemort laughed. "Bellatrix Black," he scolded. "Do not tempt me with a bed until you have finished school."
"Can you not trust yourself?" she teased, as they approached the house.
"Oh, I trust myself not in instigate anything, and I also trust, equally, your skills of seduction." Voldemort smirked, taking her arm in his, and leading her back into the house.
"Bellatrix, there you are." It was her mother's voice, somewhere in front. Bellatrix didn't care, all she could think about was getting Voldemort into her bed. "My Lord, how lovely to see you, I did not know you would be here tonight." Voldemort stepped forward to the woman in front of them, and kissed her hand. "Mrs Black, how wonderful to see you," he said, charmingly. "Where may I find your husband? I have a small matter of business to discuss with him, about your beautiful daughter Bellatrix."
Druella pointed him out in the crowd, and Voldemort smiled, and thanked her, and continued onwards, leaving Bellatrix at the bottom on the stairs with her mother. Bellatrix sighed. "What does he want to discuss with your father?" Druella asked, one eyebrow raised. "I hope you haven't upset him already. He's an important man."
Bellatrix contemplated the idea cursing her, but restrained herself. "Actually, he wants to train me in the Dark Arts," Bellatrix said smugly.
Druella looked vaguely surprised. "I see," was all she said, her tone cool. Bellatrix wondered if the only time she could please her mother would be the day the gave birth to her tenth child. "I have something for you." She turned on her heel, and Bellatrix assumed she was meant to follow her mother. They ended up in the master bedroom of the house, and Druella pulled out a plain white box from under the bed.
"Your wedding dress?" Bellatrix asked, as Druella opened it.
"This was always to be yours," she said. She pulled out the dress, and Bellatrix gasped. She'd only ever seen this in the pictures of her parents wedding day, and it was nothing in the pictures compared to this. The dress was tailored magnificently on the bodice, adorned with tiny rubies and diamonds and pearl droplets. The skirt was lace, intricate lace, many layers of it sewn together, making it beautifully full. There were rubies sewn along the pattern, becoming more and more elaborate as the dress reached the ground, ending in a metre long trail. "It is tradition for the first married, the eldest daughter, to wear her mother's wedding dress in my family." She paused. "If you impress the Dark Lord enough, you will find a very good husband. You may even find he has an interest in you himself."
"Calm down, mother," Bellatrix said quickly. "He has only shown an interest in training me, not marriage."
Druella pulled the dress sharply from her hands, and put it back in the box. "For now, at least," she said coolly. Bellatrix frowned. Was this the reason that her marriage to Rodolphus Lestrange had suddenly been called off? Because her parents thought the Dark Lord wanted to marry her?
"We should return, the guests will wonder what is going on."
They reached the stairs, and suddenly Cygnus was in front of them. "Come with me," he said hastily, grabbing her wrist, and leading her towards his study. Once inside, Bellatrix noticed Voldemort in there. The man didn't look at her, only at her father. She wondered what was happening, why he wasn't looking at her.
"What's happening?" she asked, softly, worried.
"You want to go and live with the Dark Lord, and be trained by him?" Cygnus asked sharply.
"Yes, of course I do, Daddy," she said, a smile coming to her lips.
"And whatever else the Dark Lord asks of you?" Cygnus pressed on.
Bellatrix's earlier thoughts about marriage came into her head for a moment, but she hastily pushed it back. "Of course, Daddy, the Dark Lord's views are my own in every aspect."
Cygnus simply looked back to Voldemort. "Then my answer is yes, my Lord," he said, and Bellatrix instantly got the feeling that they were talking about something different. Something other than the training. "She's a good girl, and I can get the marriages I want from the two other sisters, neither, unfortunately, are as promising as she is, but they'll make me powerful, all the same."
Voldemort chuckled. "What makes you think this won't make you powerful?" he asked, standing up.
"Powerful and rich," Cygnus responded, with a smile.
"I'll see what I can do," Voldemort said, with a smile. "Pleasure doing business with you, Cygnus," he said, shaking the man's hand. Bellatrix looked expectantly at her father as the Dark Lord started to leave. "Go with him, my dear," he said softly, smiling. "I'll sort out the guests."
Bellatrix smiled. "Thank you, Daddy," she said, hugging him, and then quickly running to catch up with Voldemort. "My Lord!" she said breathlessly.
Voldemort turned around, a smile on his lips. "My sweet," he murmured, kissing her hair, arms enveloping her tightly. "Come, I think I suddenly wish to see your bedroom. It would be wonderful to find out more about you, we hardly know one another." Bellatrix smiled widely, and led him up the back steps towards her bedroom, so they would not be spotted on the main staircase.
"I always used to sneak out of here at night, my parents never knew about this short cut until Andromeda told them." Bellatrix scowled. She hated her youngest sister. They came to a wall at the end of the corridor. "I think she was jealous because she didn't have a secret passageway to her room." She pushed lightly on the wall, and it opened, and as they stepped in, Voldemort realised it was a bookcase. "Clichéd, I know," she said, with a smile.
The room was dark, decorated in a very dark red with satin bedspreads and curtains around her mahogany four poster bed and across her windows, all the same red colour. From the ceiling to the top of the bed, there was black lace, stretched downwards, creating a beautiful effect. There was a large mirror, decorated in gold, sitting on top of a large mahogany dressing table with a small stool, a black velvet cushion on it. There was make up scattered along it with different perfume bottles, a hair brush and accessories. Across the room from that there was a large wardrobe, and next to it a desk, with papers strewn on it. Voldemort noticed his last letter on top of the rest, carefully opened, no creases on it at all. When he looked closer, he could see his words were smudged, as if it had been repeatedly read, over and over. The book shelf was just next to that, filled with both new and old books. He noticed a plush red rug on the floor, covering over the middle section of floorboard. Just next to the dressing table there was another door, leading into a large bathroom, decorated similarly. Behind him was a sofa, red velvet, which Bellatrix was seating herself down on. "Drink?" she asked, a smirk forming on her lips. She tapped the wall with her wand, and a shelf unfolded, and several bottles appeared, with ice and lemon in a big bowl, a few crystal glasses lined up along the back.
"There will be less of that when your training begins," Voldemort chided, but he sat down nonetheless, one arm around his newest lover. "Brandy? You drink brandy?" he asked, shocked.
"Wouldn't expect it from a pure young girl like me, would you?" Bellatrix replied, sarcastically. She put two ice cubes in a glass, and poured him some brandy. "And no," she said, handing it to him. "My father does not know about this, and I would appreciate it remaining the same."
She turned back, and poured herself a drink before sitting down next to him. "To the future," she said tapping Voldemort's glass.
"To our future," Voldemort responded; a smile on his lips as he took a sip of his drink. "Don't worry, Bella," he said after a moment. "If anything you do upsets me too much, I shall deal with it myself."
She hastily set down her drink, and laid her head in his lap, putting on her puppy dog eyes. "You wouldn't want to hurt me," she said, softly, a sad smile on her lips.
"No, but I will punish you if I see fit too," Voldemort replied, hands in her hair. Bellatrix rolled her eyes, and sat up, picking up her drink again. "My favoured servants have to learn to be good if they want to stay firmly on their perches."
"I'll have other ways of remaining there," Bellatrix replied, her voice sugary sweet, but Voldemort wasn't deceived.
'More ways then you could imagine,' Voldemort thought to himself. Aloud, he said, "I'm sure you will, Bella." He sighed, looking at the girl next to him. "I wanted to come up here so we can talk, seriously, about your future."
Bellatrix nodded with a smile. "I know. You're going to train me and I will be your most feared and loyal follower. I'm going to be your beautiful lover."
Voldemort stood up, impatiently.
"What is it?" Bellatrix asked, watching him carefully.
Voldemort turned around to face her. "I am thirty years your senior, I have killed and tortured many men, for crimes lesser then your sneaking out at night, or smuggling alcohol into your bedroom, and I want you to do the same, in my name, going against maybe what you want, or believe, for what I want and believe." His voice was completely emotionless. "Is that truly what you want?" Bellatrix stood up, slowly, and walked towards him.
"I know all of this," she responded. "But I fell for you the minute I saw you. I've heard a lot about you, what you've done, what you'll continue to do, and I know you were at school a few years below my father… But I don't care." She sounded so fierce, so passionate. "Because I have my own goals too, and you're involved in them. I dream of becoming rich, and powerful, marrying a gorgeous bloke, having fun, and making my family proud. And you will help me with at least four of those goals, perhaps not the marriage, but the rest I am sure…"
She suddenly stopped, and looked up at him. She noticed his gaze had softened, he was staring at her.
"Would you like my help in marriage?" he asked her, so quietly she could hardly hear it.
"What do you mean?" Bellatrix asked, stupidly.
"I didn't speak with your father just about your training. I asked him if I could marry you."
Bellatrix was silent. She stared at him; dumbstruck.
"I should have waited to ask you, I know, Bella. I couldn't wait to know. A marriage has been on my mind for a while, but I never expected to find someone as perfect as you are." Voldemort tilted his head, staring at her.
Bellatrix set her glass down with a gentle thud before turning back to him. "You really… Want to marry me?"
Voldemort nodded. "I can honestly say you're the only woman I have met I could stand to be with for the rest of my life, forever."
"My Lord, I never expected this," Bellatrix breathed, her eyes wide, burning with curiosity. "When?"
"When you have left school, preparations will be made. It will remain a secret from the Wizarding World, so I will propose to you officially when you have left. Until then, you are my betrothed, if, of course, you are in agreement."
"I am in agreement," Bellatrix said hastily. "Good gracious, I am in agreement." She smiled up at him, and lent forward for a kiss. She found his fingers on her lips, stopping her.
"We will wait," he murmured. "Nothing has changed in that sense. If you go down to your father now, and tell him of your decision, you have his permission to come to my manor and stay for the next two days, and I have promised him that we will not do anything together until we are engaged, and I fully intend to honour that. He thinks you are still a pure, innocent young girl, and though I know different, I do not want to upset him, as I have explained. He also has concerns that your reputation will be ruined if things fall through." Bellatrix opened her mouth to complain, but Voldemort's fingers tightened over it. "Bellatrix, I may not agree with him, I don't think things will fall through between us, but I need your father to win this war I am fighting. Please, my sweet, beautiful Bella, understand that. If you want me, we will wait."
Bellatrix pulled his fingers away from her mouth, and nodded. "I understand, my Lord," she said, her voice ringing happily. "Let me put some things together, hold on." She quickly poured him another drink, and started first at her wardrobe, pulling a black bag down from the space above it, and pulling out two sets of robes, one black silk and the other deep purple cotton. "My mother gave me her wedding dress tonight," she told Voldemort as she folded the sets up. "I mean to wear it on our wedding day."
"I cannot wait to see it, Bella," Voldemort replied, watching her from the couch. "You might want to bring a dress for tomorrow night. The rules of staying at my manor include dressing up for dinner."
She nodded, and opened her wardrobe again. "Anything in particular?" She leafed through the dress section in her wardrobe. "Sexy? Classy?"
"Classy," Voldemort replied quickly. "You are mine, remember. I will kill anyone who looks twice at you."
"Ruin my fun," Bellatrix responded with a smirk. She pulled a black gown out. "Ooh you will adore this dress," she murmured appreciatively, looking down below the hems of her robes and dresses in the wardrobe, and rummaging around. "I know the perfect shoes." Voldemort found himself amused as he watched her potter around the room, wondering what had happened in the last couple of months to make him be seated there, in Bellatrix Black's bedroom, listening to her talking of clothes, and shoes. Now she was around her dresser, dropping various bits of make up into the bag, along with her hairbrush, and some jewellery he couldn't see. Of course, he had plenty more surprises lined up for her when they got back, his family had left him enough of the stuff, so much he couldn't sell it all, and was just going to give Bellatrix the whole attic, filled with dresses and diamonds, inherited from his Slytherin relations.
"Alright, I'm ready," Bellatrix said, eventually. Voldemort smiled.
"Good girl," he murmured, pulling her onto his lap for some kissing. "Come, let's go and speak to your father before we depart," he said, standing her up. He took hold of her hand, and kissed it. "You're beautiful," he murmured. Together, they walked to find Bellatrix's father, who was still amongst some of the later staying guests.
"You have made your decision?" he asked her, softly, so that no one else was going to hear.
"Yes, Daddy," Bellatrix replied, smiling. "I have pleased you?"
"Very much indeed, my beautiful girl," he said, and hugged her and kissed her forehead. "Your mother told me of her gift. You will wear that on your wedding day." He kissed her forehead again, and pushed her gently away, so she was standing half way between her father and her future husband, who had respectfully given them a little distance. "You are the best thing to happen to this family. Never forget it. Now, go. Enjoy yourself." Bellatrix turned, and walked back towards Voldemort, noticing that her lovers gaze was on her fathers. Voldemort smiled, and nodded slowly, and respectfully, before he turned, and took Bellatrix's arm, and lead her out into the gardens.
"What did I do," Voldemort murmured. "To deserve such a beautiful companion?"
"Killed and tortured a few innocent muggle's, clearly," Bellatrix said, mockingly.
Voldemort sighed. "Will you ever fear me?" he asked, casually.
"Doubtful," Bellatrix replied. "Very doubtful."
The Dark Lord laughed. "Come on, you disrespectful wench," he snapped, though he was still laughing. He grabbed her hand tightly. "And I hope you're a good little submissive in the bedroom, otherwise you will be in trouble." He disapparated sharply. Bellatrix followed him, laughing.
"Not at all, you'll have to tame me," she said, replying to his earlier comment. "My goodness, it's creepy in the dark," she said, looking around the forest they'd appeared in. "Can you not apparate directly into the house?" she asked him.
"I can," he replied. "And you'll be able to when you receive the Dark Mark. Until then-" He pointed his wand at a pebble, and said "Portus". He glanced at Bellatrix. "I'm lazier then you could imagine."
Bellatrix giggled, and together they touched the pebble, and were transported directly into Voldemort's bedroom. "Why walk when you have magic," Bellatrix said, laughing still.
"We think alike," Voldemort said smiling, throwing the pebble out of the window. "Unpack your things, Bella, and I shall go and get us wine."
"Red wine," Bellatrix replied, as she started to pull out her robes and her dress, putting them on their separate hangers, and opening the wardrobe. She cleared a space at one end, and put them in, placing her shoes under the bed. She turned, and searched the room for somewhere to put her other things, and settled on the bedside table, on the left side of the bed, furthest away from her. She walked around the bed with her bag, and put everything inside the drawer which she happily realised was empty. She sat on the bed, and suddenly felt wonderfully at home.
Voldemort returned with a bottle of wine, and two glasses. "Are you not in the slightest bit tired?" he asked her.
"I'm mostly nocturnal," she said, grinning.
"Alike again," Voldemort replied. "Strange."
"Destined," Bellatrix murmured, taking the wine he was offering her, and sitting comfortably against him.
"If you believe in such things," Voldemort said sardonically.
"You have no soul," Bellatrix replied, mordantly. Voldemort swatted her off of him.
"I will smack that rear end of yours until it bleeds," Voldemort threatened.
"Please do," Bellatrix said, batting her eyelashes seductively.
"Be content we can cuddle up together all night," the Dark Lord spoke, pulling her roughly backwards into his arms.
"You know as well as I do you'll be happier when we can shag solidly until four in the morning, and then go to sleep," Bellatrix replied cynically.
"I'm beginning to wonder if you actually are seventeen at all, you seem about twenty five to me…" Voldemort said. "But I am sorry, Bella, I am exhausted. Tomorrow I have a lot of things to sort out, I did only return here momentarily before I left for your party."
"Where else have you been?"
"Now is not the time to discuss this," Voldemort replied. "There is a lot about me you do not know yet, but you will, in time."
Bellatrix nodded, and opened the drawer of the bed side table, pulling out her nightdress. "Be right back," she said, running into the bathroom. She was tempted to strip off in front of her new man, but decided it wouldn't be fair to put either of them in that situation yet. She was going to be modest, just as her father wanted. She quickly removed her evening dress, all signs of makeup, jewellery, and her shoes. She piled everything up neatly, and headed back into the bedroom, noticing Voldemort instantly, who was in bed, wearing nothing on his top half. She swallowed. Was he wearing anything on the lower half? He sat up a bit further, and Bellatrix realised thankfully he was wearing very tight boxer shorts. He really was stunning.
"What's that?" he asked, pointing at her nightdress. Granted, it was very short, black, silky and see through in a couple of places, but at least nearly half of her body was covered. She put the pile down on the table, and got into bed.
"My nightdress," she replied. "A taster. Just like you're giving me, you sexy thing." She ran her hands down his chest. It felt as much like silk as her nightdress did. Voldemort waved his hand, blowing out the candles with an unseen wind.
"Go to sleep," he said, a smirk forming on his lips.
"But I'm the birthday girl," Bellatrix replied after a moment. Voldemort made a quiet noise of agreement, and tightened his arms around her.
"Do as you're told."
Bellatrix sighed, but it wasn't long before her breathing fell into a regular pattern of deep, quiet rises and falls of her chest, as Voldemort's arms enveloped her.