Bellatrix had just returned back home from visiting her sister and was making her way through the house when she heard her name being called. She turned around and smiled when she saw in was Randall Moonler, head of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol. She definitely wanted to be on the right side of him, her husband often said he thought Moonler was going to do well in the ministry.
"Mr Moonler," she said in greeting, allowing him to bend over her hand and kiss it gently.
"Randall, please," he said, flashing her a smile.
Bellatrix smiled. Moonler looked so angelic, with his strawberry blond hair and blue eyes. He was very good at making people like him, it was hard not to upon first sight of him. Bellatrix knew different, she had seen him kill before and she knew he was ruthless. As a politician, a face like his was very helpful, and he was always careful to hide his sadistic side.
"So, how can I help?" Bellatrix asked, as they continued to walk along, side-by-side. She was starting to get used to being approached for favours, men anxious to seek an audience with the Dark Lord but finding it difficult to locate him.
"I have news," Randall told her in a soft tone. "From the Ministry. I think I am one of the first to know."
"Malfoy usually knows quickly," Bellatrix said, wrinkling her nose.
"Not so sure about this, do you know where the Dark Lord is?"
Bellatrix considered for a moment. Her husband had told her he didn't wish to be disturbed much today as he had a lot to be getting on with, and he wouldn't be happy if this was something he already knew. However, Randall was sensible and intelligent enough to know when something was important, and Bellatrix trusted him.
"This way," Bellatrix muttered, leading them towards the library. As they reached the door, she turned to him. "You're sure he doesn't know?"
Randall nodded nervously. "Positive."
Bellatrix pushed on the door, stepping in. She could feel Randall behind her. Voldemort was sat by the window, books and papers surrounding him. He looked up at her coldly, his red eyes glittering as usual. He stood up as she walked towards him, and she felt hopeful he wasn't going to be angry for a moment, until he spoke.
"I told you I was not to be disturbed," he hissed at her. Hastily, Bellatrix dropped to her knees before him, realising that Randall was still lingering by the door.
"My Lord, forgive me," Bellatrix murmured, kissing his robes. "Moonler wished to speak with you, it seems like urgent news." She didn't dare to look back up at him. He still scared her when he wasn't in a very sociable mood.
"Very well, stand up," he said, before addressing Randall. "Moonler, come here."
As Randall came forwards, Bellatrix stood up, taking her place next to him. Randall bowed deeply. "My Lord, I beg your forgiveness for disturbing you."
"I hope it is something worthwhile you have for me, then," Voldemort responded coolly.
"It is, my Lord," Randall said, just as Bellatrix looked down at the book that was open in front of her. The word Horcrux jumped out at her, and her eyes widened, unable to believe that the answer she'd been seeking was there in front of her, and she was unable to read it.
"Crouch has been made Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, my Lord," Randall said. Voldemort immediately looked irritated. Bellatrix wasn't quite sure why, but she knew that it wasn't a good thing as she definitely wasn't going to get chance to look at the book now. "I feel strongly that this is a very relevant change."
"Indeed," Voldemort replied coolly, stepping towards the window. He beckoned Moonler over with a casual flick of his finger. Once the man was stood next to him, he spoke again. "What changes do you suspect will be made?"
"He has a reputation throughout the ministry, my Lord. His job is the most important thing to him, which makes me believe that the department will become much stricter now than it ever has been before." Randall was starting to sound quite concerned.
"This worries you?" Voldemort questioned coolly. Bellatrix was straining to get a good view of the book from where she was standing without him noticing, but it wasn't working out so well for her.
"It does, my Lord," Randall said truthfully. "I also suspect that he will not head the department long. There are rumours that our minister is ready to retire from his role, and that Crouch will take his position."
"That wouldn't suit our interests," Voldemort said softly, gazing out of the window. "I want you to keep me informed on this retirement business. If the rumours are true, I will be putting my own candidate forwards for minister." He tilted his head, staring at Randall. "Prepare yourself for an election campaign."
Randall stared back, clearly shocked. "My... My Lord, do you mean to say you would like me to stand for minister?"
Voldemort nodded silently.
"My... My Lord... Thank you..."
"Lord Voldemort rewards his faithful followers," the Dark Lord said quietly. "Now, Moonler, I suggest you return to work, it would not do for you to be missed."
Randall bowed, before hastily retreating from the room. Bellatrix could tell he was feeling very pleased and happy, and probably glad he had been the one to report this, since Lucius didn't actually work for the ministry he was always able to come and share the news faster. Bellatrix suspected this was probably going to really annoy Lucius, and that made her glad, as usual.
"However, Lord Voldemort does not reward his nosy wife."
Bellatrix looked up sharply, jumping slightly. He had turned to face her, his hands behind his back as he watched her coolly. He raised a finger towards the book, and it snapped shut with a loud bang.
"You cannot blame me for wishing to know the reason my husband is immortal and still gorgeous," Bellatrix declared, and she thought it was quite brave of her to say it aloud.
Voldemort didn't even blink as he continued to stare at her. "All in good time," he said coldly. "You had best learn some patience."
"I have never been so good with that," Bellatrix murmured, stepping towards him as he resumed his seat by the table. She stood behind him, pressing her hands into his shoulders, bending forwards and kissing his cheek from behind. "I'll leave you to your work," she whispered.
He placed his hand on top of hers. "Don't," he murmured. "Come and sit."
Bellatrix walked around him, and was about to sit down next to him when he pulled her onto his lap. "My love," Bellatrix muttered, wrapping her arms around his neck and resting her head on his shoulder.
"How is your sister?"
"Well," Bellatrix responded. "Abraxas is ill again."
"He seems to be going downhill rapidly now," Voldemort said softly. "He's been getting worse since his wife died."
"Does it not make you sad to see the life leave your oldest follower?" Bellatrix asked after a moment.
"Not really," Voldemort replied, going back to his book. "There is only one person I want in my life forever."
Bellatrix grinned. "Who would that be?"
Voldemort glanced up at her for a moment, a smirk crossing his features.
"Lucius," he said smugly.
"Oh," said Bellatrix sadly. "Well, you can fuck him tonight." She turned away from him.
"Don't swear," he snapped.
"It's not swearing," Bellatrix retorted. "Not in that context."
"Bella..." Voldemort said warningly. "You know I dislike to hear it from you."
Bellatrix didn't reply. "I was thinking we could tell Evan," Bellatrix said softly after a moment, looking up at his face.
Voldemort glanced at at her sharply. "Tell Evan what?"
"About us being married."
"Why?" Voldemort asked blandly. "Why does Evan need to know that?"
"He's my cousin," Bellatrix muttered.
"So is Regulus, so is Sirius, you haven't told either of them. Your own sister doesn't even know. Why does Evan matter?" Voldemort was watching her carefully, his red eyes staring suspiciously into her own. "Has he tried something with you?"
"Husband!" Bellatrix cried. "Evan wouldn't do such a thing, he's a close friend and I want him to know."
Voldemort glared at her. "You know it's better if less people know at the moment."
"I do," Bellatrix sighed, looking down at her hands nervously. "I just want everyone close to me to know. Evan has become quite close."
"You should be careful of that too," Voldemort told her. "You do not want any weakness. You should only have one of those."
Bellatrix looked up at him quickly. "Evan doesn't even compare to you. He isn't a weakness. I could live easily without him." Voldemort looked at her for a moment, and Bellatrix tilted her head, kissing down the side of his neck.
"Alright, tell him. Just make sure he knows it is a secret."
Pulling away, Bellatrix looked up at him from under her eyelashes. "Thank you, husband," she purred, her eyes lingering on his body longingly. "How may I repay you?"
Voldemort smirked at her. "A drink would be wonderful," he said smugly. Bellatrix kissed him, ignoring his smugness.
"A drink it is," she said, grinning, stepping away from him, secretly planning to repay him very kindly later on that night.
"I'm bored," Bellatrix announced theatrically as she entered the office. Voldemort was stood by the window, his arms folded across his chest. His facial expression was thoughtful, his red eyes were narrowed in contemplation. "Can't you find me someone to kill?"
"Probably," Voldemort responded softly after a moment. Bellatrix moved closer to him, putting her arms around him from behind and pressing a gentle kiss on the back of his neck. She looked out into the garden, watching the sun setting behind the hill and the trees. He turned around, pulling her closer to him and kissing her briefly. "Bella," he murmured, staring into her eyes. "I have something to do. I need to go abroad."
"Oh," Bellatrix mumbled, resting her head against his chest so he couldn't see the look of disappointment on her face.
She felt his hands in her hair, caressing her scalp. She began to relax when his grip tightened and he pulled her head back so she was looking at him. He was smirking. "Would you like to come?"
Bellatrix gasped, her face a picture of shock. "Really?" she asked him in excitement, hardly daring to believe that he meant it.
"Yes," he said, smirking at her still. "I want you to have something." He let go of her hair, holding onto her wrist instead.
"It is pretty?" Bellatrix asked, leaning forwards and kissing him briefly.
"Not pretty as such, but you will love it I'm sure." He pulled away, holding only her hand now. "Let me see your shoes."
Bellatrix laughed, lifting up her robe with her free hand to show him her shoes. They were flat for once, she'd managed to get a blister from running around, kicking Evan's ass yesterday in shoes far too high.
"Good," Voldemort said, tilting his head and pulling her hand up further so he could see more leg. Bellatrix giggled, pulling away from him.
"Stop it!" she said, slapping his arm.
Laughing, the Dark Lord pulled her into his arms. "Bella," he murmured. "Seriously now, do you have your wand?" At her nod, he continued to speak. "You're going to need it."
"Why, where are we going?" Bellatrix asked, feeling a bit confused and nervous at his sudden change in tone.
"We are going to retrieve one of my Horcrux's from where it is hidden in Albania."
Bellatrix's jaw dropped open. "You're giving me part of your soul?"
Voldemort laughed softly. "I need you to put it in your Gringotts vault. There is no place safer then Gringotts, no one could ever break into there and escape with anything alive." He pressed his fingers under her chin, pressing her mouth shut.
"Why Albania?" Bellatrix asked after a moment.
"Why not?" Voldemort said, smirking at her again.
He pulled her tightly into her arms, and before she knew it they had reappeared in a forest. He immediately let go of her, his wand in his hand as he surveyed the area around them. Bellatrix looked around too. They were surrounded by tall, leafy trees, mostly oak or beech. Dull sunlight was shining down between the greenery and branches, the wind was blowing softly and she could hear lizards and insects and birds chirping all around her.
"It's grown a bit since I was last here," Voldemort murmured, stepping away from her.
"Are we in Albania?" Bellatrix asked suddenly, noticing that the air was a lot more humid then what it was at home.
Voldemort turned and looked at her. "Where else would we be?" he said, one eyebrow raised at her.
Bellatrix was stunned. "You mean to say you just apparated both of us from England to Albania in one trip?" Usually trips this long took more than one stop, especially if you were passing through zones of no apparation.
"You do underestimate me," Voldemort chided, looking up at a tree. Bellatrix could suddenly hear a hissing sound, and she realised it was coming from his lips and that there was a red and black striped snake on the tree he was looking at, apparently talking right back to him.
Wide eyed, Bellatrix moved towards him, hearing a rustling coming from behind her.
"I underestimate me too," Voldemort said after a moment, looking down at her. "I have brought us very close."
"Close to what?" Bellatrix mumbled, looking over her shoulder at the bushes, which were definitely moving.
Voldemort shifted away from her, passing two leafier trees before vanishing from sight entirely. Bellatrix was about to run for it when he appeared once more, grinning from ear to ear. "Found it!" he said. "My wards are very good. I've put every protection available, anti-muggle spells, this entire area I'm in is unplotable and sight and sound proofed." He held out his hand. "Hold."
Watching him cautiously, Bellatrix did as she was told. Immediately he pulled her forwards, and she felt extremely cold for a moment as she passed through the wards.
"However," Voldemort muttered, as the bush on their side of the wards began to shake more violently. He slowly started to back away, pushing Bellatrix behind him.
"What is that?" Bellatrix asked, before a very loud roar filled the air around her. It sounded like a lion.
"Extra protection, in case someone breaks through my spells," Voldemort responded quietly. "Took me six months to get it in here."
"Yes, but what is it?" Bellatrix repeated, slightly louder. The roar filled the air again and the bush continued to shake, as did several of the trees around them. She could hear hooves racing towards them, she drew her wand just in time to see a huge creature appear from behind the bushes.
For the second time that evening, her jaw dropped. She managed to regain control fairly quickly, but that would have been too late if her husband had not been there.
Standing angrily before them, with the golden, mighty head of a lion, the thick and strong body of a goat and the long, scaly tail of a dragon, stood the most beautiful and terrifying thing she had ever seen. It roared again, and Bellatrix wondered if it could breathe fire.
Voldemort held out his hand, palm outstretched. An eerie green light left his skin, and as soon as it reached the creature, it immediately mellowed and Bellatrix felt sure it was bowing, as it ducked its head down low for a moment.
"It that... A Chimaera?" Bellatrix asked, awe struck.
"It is indeed," Voldemort responded, his voice warm as he stepped towards the creature and patted it's head. To Bellatrix's surprise, it seemed to enjoy the attention, it closed it's eyes and a deep vibration began to emerge from it's throat.
"How..." Words failed Bellatrix for a moment as she wanted the scene before her.
"Chimaera's are greek, as you probably are aware. Think this one got a bit lost. It was strange, I stumbled across it by mistake and I was very surprised to find that it didn't attack me. Coming across one of these and walking away alive, let alone healthy, is unheard of." He turned towards Bellatrix. "Come here, it likes the attention."
"It may like you, but..."
"Scared?" Voldemort said mockingly.
Bellatrix scowled at him, but stepped forwards, tentatively reaching out towards the Chimaera and stroking the fur on the top of it's head. She was surprised how soft it felt. It was definitely purring and enjoying the attention, and Bellatrix wanted to laugh at the situation.
"I think it doesn't want to eat me because I don't smell human," Voldemort continued, quietly. "You have my scent on you." A smirk formed on his lips. "And in you."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "Got lots of your smell in me."
Voldemort smiled briefly at her, before taking her hand and leading her to a thick oak tree. "I need some blood."
"Why?" Bellatrix asked as he raised his wand to the palm of her hand. He made a slashing movement, and Bellatrix winced as a cut ran down the length of her palm, stinging painfully. He pulled her hand back, dripping blood onto the bark.
"This may sound crazy, but most of my enemies are men," he told her, as he pressed his hand on hers, healing the wound.
"So only a woman's blood will do?"
Voldemort smiled towards her, but didn't respond as he waved his hand in front of the bark. Slowly, it began to crumble to the ground. Bellatrix could see a hint of gold, which turned out to be a shiny, golden cup.
The Dark Lord studied it carefully for a moment, his eyes narrowed. He seemed almost wary of it. Bellatrix was unsure why, it was, after all, his own soul contained inside of the object. Perhaps it reminded him of the pain he had gone through to get in there in the first place. After a long while of staring at it, slowly, Voldemort put his hand into the hole that had been created and lifted it out. His face contorted as he touched it, his eyes squeezed closed and his breathing deepened, and hastily he pressed it into Bellatrix's hands.
Turning it over, she could see a badger engraved on it. She was surprised at how shiny it was, after being inside of a tree for so many years. After a while Bellatrix could feel her hands tingling, was it his magic seeping inside of her skin? Staring at it in awe, Bellatrix felt a little disappointed when Voldemort lifted it from her hands and dropped it inside of a brown sack.
"Why don't you like to touch it?" Bellatrix whispered to him, as he grabbed her arm and led her out of the wards.
"I hear screams," Voldemort muttered. "Same with all of them. Screams of my soul being torn, screams of the person I murdered."
Bellatrix swallowed as he disapparated them back to their bedroom. It was pitch black in England now, it was getting late. He removed the cup from the sack, setting it down on the dresser, next to the mirror.
"When will you teach me about all of this?" she asked him, sitting down on the bed.
"You're too young," Voldemort told her, briefly pressing a kiss on the top of her hair.
"You were younger then me when you made your first one," Bellatrix reminded him.
"Bella, you aren't ready to hear it yet, trust me," he told her sharply. "Enough on the matter. You need to stop looking for information. You aren't going to find anything. It is a waste of your time."
Bellatrix nodded once, before standing up and removing her clothes, suddenly exhausted.
"Will you put it into Gringotts tomorrow?" Voldemort asked her, locking the door.
"Of course," she responded, sliding into bed. "I will upgrade my vault to the highest security."
"There are a few spells I would like you to put onto the cup as well," said Voldemort as he lay down next to her, raising his hand to dim the candles to darkness.
Bellatrix turned over and put her arms around him, feeling his head resting on hers. She closed her eyes. "Night night," she murmured.
Bellatrix awoke later on in the night. She could hear a strange whispering sound, and it took her mind a while to process the fact that there was a Horcrux in the room with them. She looked over at her husband, a smile reaching her lips as she saw he was fast asleep. The Dark Lord somehow managed to look innocent whilst he was sleeping, and Bellatrix thought he looked absolutely gorgeous.
The whispering was getting louder. She sat up in bed, lighting her wand. It hadn't moved, it was in exactly the same position as Voldemort had placed it, by the mirror on the dresser. Slowly, she slid out of bed, cautiously moving towards it. As she got closer, she thought the whispering was actually calling her name over and over again - "Bella... Bella..."
Bellatrix wasn't sure what to do. She glanced back over her shoulder at Voldemort who was still very much asleep. Hesitantly, she sat down at the dresser, staring at the cup. She remembered how it felt last time she'd touched it, like his power was seeping into her skin, being absorbed by her body. Knowing she shouldn't, and also knowing Voldemort was going to be very displeased when he found out, Bellatrix reached out and picked it up. Immediately she felt the tingling sensation on her hand. Her breathing grew heavier as she could feel the magic spreading up her arm, the whispering sound still coming from the Horcrux.
She jumped as she heard Voldemort stirring behind her, she hastily put the cup back down on the table and turned around to look at him, relieved when she saw he had just kicked the comforter off of him. It was awfully hot. As she turned around, her eyes widened as she noticed that a thick mist was coming from the cup and into the mirror ahead of her, her reflection now obscured by a black, swirling haze. Frozen to the spot, she realised that the haze was beginning to form a face.
Ruby red eyes, shorter, black hair, pale, smooth skin came together to form a much younger looking Voldemort, possibly in his early twenties. The colour of his eyes looked strange on him as the rest of his face looked so very angelic. If this was a true reflection of how he looked before, Bellatrix wasn't in the slightest bit surprised that everyone gave him what he wanted. He smirked, and Bellatrix felt cold all through her body. This reflection wasn't the Voldemort she knew, this was pure evil. He was ice cold, colder than she had ever seen her husband. The smirk didn't reach his eyes as it normally did when he looked at her.
"Bella," he whispered to her, his smirk changing to an icy, malicious smile. "Bella... I've waited a long time for this..." Swallowing hard, Bellatrix realised she couldn't look away from him, no matter how hard she tried.
"Long time for what?" she found herself asking him.
"To meet you," the young Voldemort told her, tilting his head as he looked at her. His voice was the same, dark, rich, enough to make her spine tingle.
"Why?" she whispered, feeling sweat on her hands as she kept a tight hold of her wand. The haze was still pouring directly from the cup.
"Does he know you are with me?" the young Dark Lord asked her, one brow raised challengingly at her.
"He is asleep," Bellatrix replied, wondering why she had just given up that information. Surely, as part of his soul, this Voldemort would know that?
"He plays his part well," the image told her smugly. "He deceives everyone, even you."
"My husband does not deceive me," Bellatrix retorted, eyes narrowing.
The young Voldemort laughed, and the sound made Bellatrix shiver. "Bella, Bella, Bella... How little you know."
"There is only one person that calls me that," Bellatrix snapped, infuriated that this thing was using his name for her.
"That person is me," the reflection informed her. Bellatrix shook her head.
"Not," she muttered.
"Me, in a few years time..." Voldemort smiled at her. "What's the matter, Bella?" he asked mockingly.
She didn't reply. She hated this, the face of her love, being so cruel in a way that was unlike him.
"Come, Bella, you should be completely obedient by now, I thought he had you well trained." His voice became sharper. "Answer me!"
Bellatrix didn't make any move to reply to him. This... Thing, was not her husband, nor her master, and as such she didn't have to respond.
"It is such a shame that you won't... I was prepared to tell you a secret..." His facial expression had changed, he had stopped faking friendliness now. "It's alright, dearest Bella, do not be disappointed, I will tell you anyway."
"I don't want to know," Bellatrix informed him quickly.
"I do not care," Voldemort informed her, his voice hard. "The man you are married to, he does not love you, nor care for you."
"How should you know?" Bellatrix hissed at him.
"We are the same person," Voldemort said, smiling once more. "I know everything about him. He doesn't love."
"Stop it," Bellatrix whispered.
"He doesn't love you, of course he doesn't, he is the Dark Lord! We both are." The expression changed again, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Are you questioning me? Are you questioning the Dark Lord?"
"You aren't the Dark Lord!" Bellatrix screamed, finally loosing her temper with the mirror.
"You aren't!" She heard a sound behind her, the bed creaking.
"Just leave me alone!" she shouted, seeing the smug face of the young Dark Lord swimming in front of her, tears of rage filling her eyes as she watched him laughing at her. "He loves me! You don't know a thing!"
She felt arms around her, but her ears were still ringing with his laughter. She didn't think she'd ever felt so angry before. She shook the hold someone had on her, lashing out behind her, scratching whoever it was with her long nails, seeing only the laughing face in the mirror. Rage overtook, and she suddenly realised that her fist was heading straight towards the mirror.
She punched it, watching in satisfaction as the reflection shattered into tiny pieces. The haze was immediately sucked back into the cup, and the room was silent once more. She stared at the shards of glass, crying softly, shaking all over. Slowly, she turned around, staring at the real Dark Lord that was stood behind her, blood dripping from his cheek where she'd scratched him. He was watching the cup intently, his wand drawn, aiming steadily at it.
"Do you love me?" Bellatrix snarled at him. "Was it right?"
Voldemort's gaze flickered to her for a moment, before he lowered his wand. "It is the only defence a Horcrux has, Bella. It is designed to weaken the resolve of anyone near to them. They see everyone apart from their creator as a threat. This is why I have always kept them firmly out of sight."
Bellatrix shook her head. "I don't believe you," she told him, slowly standing up, aiming her wand at him.
"I shouldn't love you," Voldemort informed her, not raising his wand back at her, to her utmost surprise. "It shouldn't be possible, my soul is so damaged that it is unrepairable. If I ever tried to repair it, I would die. No one has ever split their soul this many times." Bellatrix felt herself lowering her wand and putting it away, shaking violently still.
"Was that your soul talking to me?" she asked him.
"No," he replied, shaking his head. "It was your greatest fear, your darkest thoughts and concerns, coming to life. It is hard to decipher where you are concerned, since your deepest feelings are rooted straight to me." Silently, Bellatrix nodded her head.
"Bella," he murmured.
Bellatrix looked towards him, before launching herself into his arms, sobbing loudly. "I was so scared," she cried. "More afraid then I have ever been."
"Bella, Bella," Voldemort murmured, and she could feel his lips on her hair. "I adore you."
"I don't want a Horcrux," she declared. "It is the most evil magic, I don't care what you think."
Voldemort shushed her. "The reward is so great, Bella... I will live forever."
"At what cost?" she asked him, pulling back.
"At no cost. I can love still, I'm gorgeous, I am powerful, and I will not die," Voldemort told her, looking into her eyes. "Come on, come back to bed." Slowly, he took her hand, leading her back to their four-poster. He pulled her close to him as they lay down together, his arms crossing over her chest and he held her tightly from behind. "You're safe."
Feeling exhausted, Bellatrix closed her eyes, trying to even out her breathing. "I love you," she told him. "But I cannot love your Horcrux."
"Go to sleep," Voldemort whispered in her ear. "I am here. I love you."
Bellatrix drew in a long shuddering breath before she forced herself to relax. She felt herself drifting away, only hearing his steady breathing behind her. She tightened her grip on him, resting her cheek on his arm, inhaling his delicious smell. She knew he loved him. She could feel it. Whenever he looked at her, she could see it. She just needed to keep that thought at the front of her mind and everything would be fine.