The day of Abraxas's funeral had arrived. They were walking, in a very large group, through the graveyard in which the Malfoy tomb was. Narcissa and Lucius were leading the group which comprised of ministry officials and workers, and family. Lucius had apparently bribed someone in a high place not to arrest Bellatrix during the funeral, and so far it was working.
Voldemort was next to her, his eyes unfortunately blue. He looked very gorgeous in his robes of black velvet though, so she wasn't complaining too much. She wondered how he could so normally attend today, knowing he was responsible for the death.
They appeared to have reached the tomb. Only Malfoy's could enter, so everyone was left outside while Lucius and Narcissa went inside, Abraxas's coffin floating ahead of them.
Voldemort sighed quietly, looking around him. Bellatrix looked too, noticing that most people had joined smaller groups to talk. She caught sight of her mother, who ignored her and struck up a conversation with her sister.
"Are you sure we can't find a reason to kill my mother?" Bellatrix muttered to her husband.
"Don't be stupid," he snapped back.
"Says the man who is at the funeral of someone he killed," she mumbled.
"Enough backchat," Voldemort told her firmly. "I am not in the mood."
Bellatrix opened her mouth to retort and then promptly closed it again, knowing she would only regret it later.
"Glad to see you've learnt some restraint," Voldemort said with a sneer.
"Would you honestly be happy if I never answered you back?" Bellatrix asked him softly.
"Difficult to say, I've never had that luxury before," Voldemort responded coolly. They glared at each other for a moment, before Bellatrix noticed everyone moving forwards. Narcissa and Lucius had come back out again.
"You're being very cruel today," she muttered as they moved forwards too. She must have sounded quite hurt because her husband put his arm around her and squeezed her briefly, before letting her go again.
"I wouldn't be happy," he murmured into her ear.
Bellatrix smiled for a short moment, knowing he was just grumpy because he didn't want to be there.
Lucius was holding his wand up to the doors of the tomb, slowly bringing the blue light around to seal the entrance. This was, so Bellatrix had been told, the tradition of the Malfoy's. The oldest son would seal the tomb, readying it for his own funeral.
A bell then resounded through the graveyard. This was the signal of a minutes silence, to think back over the life of the deceased. Most people had bowed their heads, but Bellatrix noticed the Dark Lord was staring impassively towards the tomb, unmoving.
Bellatrix had genuinely liked Abraxas. She had conspired with him to make sure Narcissa and Lucius got married. She wasn't sure it would have happened without her input. Narcissa could have ended up being married to Rodolphus Lestrange then. She shuddered, glancing over to him briefly. He had a cigarette in one hand, ready to smoke just as soon as he could. Abraxas was also one of the few people to know about her marriage, one of the few actually there. It was a strange feeling, to know that she would never see him again.
The bell chimed once more, signalling an end to the silence. The people that had come with flowers would now step forwards and place them at the bottom of the steps. Bellatrix didn't bring any flowers, she thought it would be vulgar to buy them with the Dark Lord's money.
They stood back, watching as people slowly moved forwards, stopping by the tomb for a few moments. Some of the women were crying. Bellatrix wondered if any of them were Abraxas's mistresses, unrecognised as being part of the Malfoy family, unable to say goodbye properly.
"We need to leave," Voldemort murmured in her ear.
Bellatrix nodded. Lucius may have bribed someone, but if the Aurors turned up they would be done for and she would definitely be arrested if caught. Then the Dark Lord's cover might be blown and that was at the bottom of her list for things to happen. Before they disapparated, Bellatrix took one more glance at the tomb. She really was going to miss Abraxas.
Bellatrix first went to Madam Malkin's to collect her new robes. Narcissa had shown them to her, they were very tailored and made a lady's waist look very thin indeed. She decided she wasn't going to tell Voldemort how much they were as she thought he might have a heart attack. It wasn't like they were ever going to run out of money though; she'd seen his many vaults, each one bursting at the door.
Then she headed to Voldemort's favourite lingerie shop and bought a couple of things from there, hoping that some vigorous sex might shake him from this mood that had descended upon him over recent days.
After that she decided to head to Knockturn Alley and browse in a book shop for anything Voldemort might like. He loved learning new things, he was always pouring over a new book, hungry for new magic and information. She had only been in the shop for two minutes when someone tapped her on the shoulder. She grabbed her wand, concerned it was a friend of Dumbledore's and whirled around, completely shocked when she realised it was Posey.
"Bellatrix!" Posey said in excitement, hugging her friend.
Bellatrix smiled, squeezing her tightly back. "So good to see you!" She glanced over her shoulder, seeing the woman on the counter glaring at them for making too much noise. "Shall we get a coffee?"
Posey nodded. "Yes, we need to catch up."
They left the bookshop and went to the coffee shop across the road. Bellatrix couldn't believe she was with her best friend from school again, they hadn't seen each other since Bellatrix's eighteenth and now she was going to be twenty in a few days.
"Are you working now?" Bellatrix asked, when they had ordered and were seated.
Posey nodded. "I work for the Prophet. I'm only an assistant to one of the junior editors, but I love it so much."
"You always did want to work for the Prophet, that's so good that you got in there. It's normally impossible without other work experience first."
"What about you, Bellatrix? How is married life?"
Bellatrix smiled. "It's amazing. My husband... He's the best, I couldn't have hoped for anyone better."
"Oh, very happy with Malfoy..." Bellatrix wrinkled her nose, not liking to think about it.
Posey smirked. She never liked Lucius very much either and was always the first to jump to Bellatrix's defence whenever Lucius said anything rude to her.
"Any man in your life?" Bellatrix asked in interest.
Posey blushed a little bit. "Well, sort of... But it's very new and I wouldn't like to say too much, you know." Bellatrix nodded. Posey was very careful about what she said when something was new and unsure. She didn't press any further. "I heard about Andromeda."
Bellatrix jumped a little at the name. "Oh. Her." She paused, unsure what to say on the subject. "Well, she's probably happily married to that Gryffindor idiot."
Posey flinched a little, and Bellatrix was not sure why. Then she remembered Posey was never a hater of anyone just because they were in another house, although she would not ever have crossed the line with one at school. "You haven't seen her?"
"I have no interest in seeing a blood traitor," Bellatrix remarked coolly. "She is not my sister."
Posey nodded slowly, clearly not sure what to say. They moved onto lighter subjects, talking about Posey's new job and their time at Hogwarts. Suddenly aware that time must be ticking on by now, she glanced down at her new watch and then panicked at the time.
"Ah, shit, Posey I have to run. I'm going to be late and..." She trailed off, not willing to say that Voldemort would be angry with her.
Posey nodded. "It was wonderful to see you, Bellatrix." They stood and embraced each other once more.
"Posey... My husband, and my work, are very demanding. I don't have time for friends any more." She paused, searching for the words. "I miss you."
"I understand, Bellatrix. I am happy for you. I already told you that you're on a path I cannot follow you down." Posey smiled. "Now, you better go!"
Bellatrix smiled back, glad Posey understood why they hadn't seen each other in so long and glad her life was good.
She left the coffee shop and disapparated, appearing a moment later back in her bedroom. Hastily she dumped her bags of shopping on the bed and headed back towards the door, glancing at her watch again. Twenty five minutes past the hour now showed. She hurled herself out of the door of the sitting room and down the stairs into the main part of the house, glancing left and right as she did. To the left there was a group of Death Eaters walking her way. She turned right, ignoring them. The Dark Lord had been very difficult since the funeral and she didn't want to make things worse. Normally she knew how to pull him out of these moods but in the last two days, her efforts had completely failed.
"Bellatrix?" one of the men behind her called, slightly unsure of himself.
She turned around to see a very tall, extremely muscular man who she didn't know in front of the Carrow's and Nott.
"Yes?" she responded coolly as he sped up to get closer to her. She didn't recognise him.
"Wow... You're looking good..." he murmured, looking her up and down. "You don't remember me." Bellatrix shook her head, curious now. "I was a few years above you at Hogwarts, I'm Exodus Knightsby."
Bellatrix nodded and smiled. "You were on the Quidditch team."
"Yeh, I was a beater." Knightsby paused. "Did you just come out of the Dark Lord's rooms? There aren't many people allowed in there from what I've heard."
"Yes," Bellatrix responded. "There's a few of us allowed." One of the people behind them made a condescending snort but Bellatrix ignored it. "Actually, I'm a bit late for him, need to get to his office."
"Oh right, well, we're headed that way," Knightsby said, beginning to walk along again.
"Have you been given a job?" Bellatrix asked, wondering where they were going.
Knightsby grinned. "Yep, we've got something special to pick up."
Bellatrix knew what that meant alright. Someone was living on limited time. She didn't ask who though, sometimes it was best not to know.
"Apparently the Dark Lord's had some good news today, any idea what it is?"
Bellatrix shrugged. "Not seen him yet," she responded softly.
"Ah well, sure we'll find out soon enough." Bellatrix could sense his eyes on her, she didn't dare look back. "So, Bellatrix... I can't believe you're here, one of us."
Bellatrix laughed. "Why, because I'm a girl?"
Knightsby shook his head. "I don't know... I just remember thirteen year old you, in the common room surrounded by giggling girls. You never giggled though. You were the boss. Always thought you'd do well for yourself."
Bellatrix smirked. "I've done okay here, first woman, youngest initiate..."
Knightsby put his arm around her shoulders just as they rounded the corner of the corridor, apparently about to say more when he stopped. Bellatrix was about to remove the arm when she noticed the Dark Lord walking toward them. Generally he ignored people he saw in the corridors, sweeping past them impassively. Ever since the meeting a few days ago, when Voldemort had killed some of his own followers for failing him and tortured the rest, everyone was a lot more terrified of him. Now everyone dropped to their knees upon the sight of him.
The first thing she saw was the darkening of his expression. He looked furious that someone else was touching her. She felt Knightsby let go of her and could sense him, and the others in the group, sinking to the ground. Bellatrix found she was frozen to the spot, staring at him as he slowly advanced towards her.
"Bellatrix," he snapped as he reached her. He came to a halt half a metre away from her, looking her up and down briefly as if to check she was not damaged. "I was expecting you half an hour ago."
"I was delayed," she told him quietly. He glared at her again. "My Lord," she added on hastily.
He continued to glare for a moment, before he spoke again. "So I see." Bellatrix winced. He looked down to Knightsby then around to Amycus, Alecto and Nott. "I thought Crabbe and Goyle were to be joining you, Knightsby," he continued coldly.
"They are, my Lord," Knightsby began, his voice quivering slightly. "We... We are going to them now."
"Well, ensure you do not come back to me empty handed," Voldemort snapped. He looked back to Bellatrix. "And Bella, make your way to my office now. Perhaps that will ensure you are not late again." With a final glare at Knightsby, Voldemort stormed past the group and continued his journey. No one moved until his steps could no longer be heard on the wooden floor.
The group on the floor stood up. "Pet name, even when you're late?" Knightsby said in surprise.
Bellatrix shrugged. "That's just what he calls me."
"Wow, you really are his favourite," Knightsby responded with a grin.
"We all know why that is," Amycus muttered.
Knightsby frowned and turned around to look at Amycus. "What are you saying, Carrow?" he asked coldly.
"That Bellatrix does not have her own room here and that she sleeps in the Dark Lord's bed every night," he snarled. "Of course she is his favourite."
Bellatrix smirked. "Jealous, Carrow?"
Amycus's face turned red in anger but he didn't say anything else. His sister looked quite embarrassed to her credit.
"Is that true?" Knightsby asked, his face paler now.
Bellatrix shrugged. "We live in the same rooms... I look after his needs when he wishes it..."
"He has just seen me touching you. He is going to kill me." Knightsby had paled even further.
"I doubt it... If you please him this afternoon," Bellatrix replied. "But you are correct, the Dark Lord is a possessive man." She shivered involuntarily, sometimes she found it quite baffling that she was the wife of the most powerful man in the world and yet for the most part it was so normal. "I better go, don't want to be late again..."
As she walked away, she smirked over her shoulder at Amycus, laughing to herself. Some of the Death Eaters really could be funny, so jealous of her power and of her relationship with the Dark Lord.
She entered the office and sat down in Voldemort's comfortable armchair, leaning back. She could smell his scent on the red fabric and that made her smile. Then there were footsteps outside and the door opened. The Dark Lord looked in at her, his face torn between amusement and anger as it so often was when he looked at her when she was doing something she should not be. He shut the door behind him, stepping towards her.
Bellatrix stood up and allowed him to have his seat back, sensing he wasn't in the mood.
"How was shopping?" he asked her coolly, staring at her with those piercing red eyes.
"Good," Bellatrix responded. "I actually ended up going for a coffee with Posey."
Voldemort nodded but didn't comment. Bellatrix could see he was still pretty furious.
"And then I dropped my bags off in our rooms and then I was coming to you when I saw someone else from school."
"Knightsby is a little old for you, don't you think?" Voldemort snapped at her.
Bellatrix looked at him in surprise before she snorted. "What?"
"He is at least five years older then you, I hope you didn't -"
"Tom!" Bellatrix snarled, suddenly angry at his opinion of her. "Why do you assume I have slept with every boy at school? I've told you, I haven't had that many boyfriends."
Voldemort was silent for a few seconds before he spoke again. "He seemed very familiar with you."
"He remembered me, from when I was about thirteen. I hardly remembered him." Bellatrix took a deep and calming breath. "It's very flattering, of course. He won't touch me again. I've explained now."
"What have you said?" Voldemort asked sharply.
"He thinks I am your sex toy," Bellatrix hissed back, unable to believe how difficult he was being. "Like every one of the Death Eaters, he now thinks I am your slut."
She turned away from him, taking a deep breath once more. She didn't care what the others thought of her. She knew they were married and that there was nothing wrong with what they did every night. No one could know the truth, not until they were completely safe. That was hard. She wanted to tell the world that she was married to the heir of Slytherin, the Dark Lord, the most gorgeous man on the planet. Instead she was judged and occasionally disliked for it.
"Is this beginning to upset you, Bella?" Voldemort asked her softly.
"It frustrates me."
"It frustrates me as well," Voldemort told her quietly. "When foolish men dare to touch what is mine."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes. He was very good at making everything about himself. "You're so unnecessarily jealous sometimes."
"If you did as you were told and came to me when I asked you to then we would not have had a problem," Voldemort informed her coolly.
"Why are you making such a big deal out of this? It's half an hour, what could possibly be so imperative?" Bellatrix shrieked at him, loosing her temper.
"They've called the election, Bella," Voldemort told her quietly after a few seconds of staring blankly at her.
"What?" Bellatrix murmured, hardly believing that this moment had finally come for them.
"I've sent your friend Knightsby to destroy the old minister. I do not wish for his input to put the election in Crouch's favour, as Lucius claimed he would."
"Is there anything you need from me, my Lord?" Bellatrix asked quietly.
"No," Voldemort replied coldly, looking down at some papers on his desk.
"Please stop being so cross," Bellatrix said after a few moments of watching him.
A smile finally reaching his lips. "Cross?" he asked.
"That was a polite way of saying difficult."
"Difficult?" He laughed, and Bellatrix was pleased to hear he didn't sound anywhere near as cold as he had just a few seconds ago. "Come here."
She did as she was told, moving slowly towards him. He pulled her onto his lap. "These are trying times, sweetheart."
"You think I don't know that?" Bellatrix asked him. "I think I know it best out of everybody. Marrying Dark Lord's is a trying business."
"Marrying beautiful women who attract every man isn't easy. Perhaps I should make you wear a scarf over your face."
Bellatrix laughed. "Then you wouldn't see my face nor be able to show it off."
"True." She felt his hands slide around her hips and she smiled, leaning closer to him.
"How long before the election?"
"A couple of months I should imagine," Voldemort replied. "Lucius owled to say he had heard." He paused. "You know how the election works, don't you? The one hundred and one benefactors of the Ministry vote on who they want to take the position of Minister."
Bellatrix nodded. "Wasn't Abraxas one?"
"Yes," Voldemort replied. "That has passed down to Lucius. It passes generation to generation. The only thing we shall have to be careful of is keeping Lucius out of trouble, I cannot afford to loose him."
"Is the voting anonymous?"
"No and so Lucius will have to vote for the candidate going against Moonler to keep himself clear of implication should Moonler loose and have his true loyalties discovered," Voldemort explained. "But then as soon as Moonler does win, there are going to be some sweeping changes."
"When do I get my crown?" Bellatrix asked, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Not so far away now, my love," Voldemort whispered in her ear. "I have one more to defeat, then this world will be ours."
Bellatrix nodded. "Dumbledore and Hogwarts."
"You're very good at this, did you have some extra tuition or something?" Voldemort asked, laughing quietly.
"I had the best and sexiest teacher, ever," Bellatrix replied, turning around and kissing him. "And you know it."
"Did you buy anything I might approve of today?" Voldemort whispered in her ear. "Anything you might need help trying on?"
Bellatrix giggled, pressing her hands against his firm chest. "As a matter of fact, yes I did."
"Lead the way, Mrs Riddle," Voldemort responded, feeling very cheerful that his wife knew exactly how to please him, in absolutely every sense. He did not know what he would do without her and knew that if she ever left him, he would be in trouble.