The day after Voldemort had returned from his trip abroad, Bellatrix was starting to feel a bit worried about how he was going to react about what had happened with Posey and she decided she was going to tell him sooner rather than later. They'd had a wonderful night, not really talking about anything particularly serious and Bellatrix had completely forgotten until she had woken up, with a slight headache. Voldemort was in a very good mood though and she thought this would be the best time to tell him.
"Did you have fun last night?" he asked her, as they sat down for their breakfast in their dining room.
"It was wonderful, a complete success with everyone," Bellatrix responded, feeling quite pleased about that. "Tom, I have something to talk to you about."
Voldemort looked at her sharply. "Lestrange?" he asked, his eyes narrowed.
"No!" Bellatrix said loudly, shaking her head. "I've hardly had anything to do with him."
"You said he'd been hinting at dances." Voldemort took a sip of his coffee, watching her carefully.
"He just does it to annoy me," Bellatrix said softly. "Yaxley presented us with the main names on the list of marriages… Andromeda was on there…"
"Yes," Voldemort said, his voice slightly cool. "We knew it would be."
"That's not the problem," Bellatrix said, nibbling her lip. "Posey's name came up."
"Posey Parkinson?" Voldemort asked, sounding mildly interested now.
"Mrs. Galahad Weasley now," Bellatrix responded quietly.
Voldemort looked at her in surprise. "Weasley? The order member?"
Bellatrix nodded. "When I found out… I went to her, I found her… And I warned her we were coming…"
"You warned her?" Voldemort hissed, standing up. "You warned someone who knows information which could harm us?"
"My oldest friend," Bellatrix replied shortly, standing up too, pulling out her wand, just in case.
"Friend?" Voldemort spat, glaring at her. "Do you actually believe that warrants warning her?"
"I had to!" Bellatrix said indignantly. "This might force Weasley to leave the order for all you know, one less for us to remove."
"Or," Voldemort said, moving slowly around the table towards her. His tone was definitely dangerous now. "It might frighten Posey into telling him every damaging detail she knows about us."
Bellatrix shook her head, backing away from him. "No, I trust her."
"You are weak," Voldemort snarled at her. "I will have efforts in finding them doubled."
Looking down to the floor, Bellatrix didn't dare reply to him. As long as he didn't make her do it… It was inevitable and there was nothing she could do to stop it from happening now.
"I am stunned you have done this, Bella," Voldemort said, his voice softer.
"I don't expect you to understand," she said, looking up at him now.
Voldemort sighed and Bellatrix could see he was still angry. "Do you realise that if you were anyone else I would kill you for this?"
"I'm not just anyone though," Bellatrix responded, her voice sounding strong in her own ears.
"Don't let it happen again," he snapped, glaring at her for a moment before turning and sitting back down.
Bellatrix exhaled slowly before she turned and sat back down too, watching him warily. He was still glaring.
There was a tap on the door and then Rodolphus entered. Voldemort didn't even look up, he flicked his wand over his shoulder and suddenly Rodolphus was on the floor. Bellatrix sighed lightly, staring at her coffee cup for a moment before wondering how Rodolphus was staying so quiet. She looked up and saw that he was not just under the cruciatus curse, but under a full body bind too. His eyes were bulging and Voldemort still wasn't looking.
"Is this necessary while we are eating?" Bellatrix snapped at him, even she had never been cruel enough to do that to someone whilst under the painful curse.
"I can do them same to you if you prefer?" Voldemort hissed back, clearly still furious with her. He flicked his wand again, Bellatrix assumed to stop the spell to prevent Rodolphus going completely crazy.
"I don't think I have done anything wrong," Bellatrix replied sulkily.
"You have," Voldemort informed her coldly. "You've betrayed your cause."
The word betrayed caused Bellatrix to shiver, that was a very strong word and she wasn't entirely sure she liked hearing it from him. He flicked his wand towards Rodolphus once more.
"Are you cursing him because of me?" Bellatrix asked quietly, a moment later.
"I shall deal with you in a moment," he snapped back angrily. "Rodolphus deserves his punishment as much as you will deserve yours."
Bellatrix gulped. Sometimes their arguments were petty and didn't make him this angry but today was definitely different. She had done something possibly damaging, she had a chance to kill someone who knew things they could harm them with and she had instead warned them. But Posey had been her good friend for many years, perhaps Bellatrix had misjudged her but she didn't want to kill her. Even if Voldemort didn't trust her, Bellatrix did. She just needed to somehow make him see things her way.
"Lestrange," Voldemort said, his voice suddenly soft and silky. Bellatrix looked up and could now see Rodolphus knelt at Voldemort's feet. "How many times must we have this conversation? Bellatrix is my wife… Mine… And she always will be, no matter how much she irritates me." The last part of the comment was aimed at her, she knew, but she ignored him. "Why are you unable to accept this after so long?"
"I… I try to ac… Accept it, my Lord," Rodolphus replied quietly, his head bowed. "I… I will try… Harder…"
"My patience is wearing thin," Voldemort replied coldly. "Bellatrix believes that you are too important for me to kill… Your skills are too valuable for me to remove… Do not see that as weakness, Rodolphus. I will kill you if you continue. I am in charge here."
"You are merciful, my Lord," Rodolphus murmured. He bent over and kissed them hem of Voldemort's robe. "My Lord, I… I am your devoted servant, I…"
"Enough," Voldemort snapped. "Get out."
Rodolphus kissed the robes once more before he turned and crawled from the room.
"Your turn, Bellatrix," Voldemort hissed when the door was shut. He raised his wand once more, but Bellatrix deflected the spell.
He glared at her. "You can't keep that up forever," he told her coldly, watching as she stood up again.
"I think you'll find I can keep it up as long as I have to," Bellatrix replied, her eyes fixed on his. For the first time, she wanted to fight him. This was definitely not an emotion she had felt before for him… But she felt like she was fighting in support of her friend, who she did trust and knew was not going to tell her secret. Posey had a weak stomach and would never want to be responsible for putting Bellatrix in danger. Bellatrix felt the need to do the same.
He flicked his wand again, which again Bellatrix deflected. He was glaring, very, very dangerously. He didn't like this and nor was he used to it.
"What?" she asked, keeping her voice calm.
Another spell came her way and she deflected it once more. Now she could close her mind, she was able to duel him much more effectively. It just took a great deal of concentration.
"How dare you!" he shouted, loosing his temper. "After what you have done?"
"I've not done anything wrong, Tom," she told him softly.
"You cannot treat me like this!" he screamed back, and Bellatrix was suddenly aware that she had never seen him this angry with her. He never shouted at her like this. Suddenly she wondered if she had pushed him too far but decided that there was no going back now.
"Why?" she retorted, scowling at him. "Why not? Why is it only you that is allowed to treat me badly?"
"I have given you everything you could desire," Voldemort snarled. "Everything and anything."
"Except your trust!" Bellatrix bit back. "You are proving right now that you do not trust my judgement! I know her; you do not. I know that she would rather die than see any harm come to her friends and family."
"She will choose her husband over you," Voldemort retorted, sparks flying from his wand. "She is on the other side now."
Bellatrix shook her head. "That is where you are wrong, Tom. She isn't on a side."
Voldemort shook his head. "This is just you guessing."
"It's an educated guess," Bellatrix admitted, nodding at him.
"You are weak," Voldemort snapped at her, his wand raising.
Bellatrix pointed her wand at him. "Crucio!" she shouted.
She wasn't quite sure how, but the spell hit him. She watched, eyes wide as he stared at her in shock before he doubled over for a few seconds. Then it was all over as he suddenly stood up, having removed the spell from himself. He was panting, his eyes furious.
"You little- "
Bellatrix didn't wait around to hear what he was calling her. She ran from the room as quickly as she could, down the stairs – hearing him behind her – and suddenly found herself in the very busy ballroom. Everyone was here practicing, hoping the Dark Lord would see them and be impressed now that he was back.
"Oh, shit!" Bellatrix cursed, seeing everyone turning to see who had just run into the room. She figured if she could get to the other staircase at the opposite end of the room then she could escape him from there and give him a while to cool down a bit.
"Bellatrix?" she heard Evan call as she continued to run and then the room went silent, which signalled to her that Voldemort had just entered. She glanced over her shoulder just a second too late to deflect the red spell that was speeding over to her and it hit her with terrifying force, which caused her to fall to the ground screaming in agony as she realised it was the cruciatus curse. He kept in on her as he crossed the room to her, his footsteps echoing frighteningly, as he got closer and closer.
Then the spell was gone and she was on her back, panting from running and from the curse.
"Fuck you," she murmured at him as he bent over her to check she was alright.
"You started it," he informed her, roughly pulling her to her feet and half dragging her back towards Evan. "Did you know about this?" he snapped at Evan.
Evan didn't need two guesses to know what he was talking about. "Afterwards," Evan responded hastily.
"Who else?" Voldemort snarled back.
"It's not his fault!" Bellatrix said loudly.
"Shut up," Voldemort told her sharply before he turned back to her cousin. "Who else knew?"
"Only Narcissa, my Lord," Evan said, shrugging. "So I suppose Lucius did too…"
"And none of you thought to pass this on?" Voldemort asked dangerous. "Especially you, Evan, who I entrusted with her?"
"I can look after myself," Bellatrix hissed, struggling free of his iron grasp. "I am not a child."
"Then I suggest you start acting so," Voldemort snapped back.
Bellatrix glowered at him before moving towards the doorway again.
"Stay where you are, Bellatrix, I am not finished with you," Voldemort called after her.
"Come and get me," Bellatrix snapped back, suddenly very aware of all of the confused, surprised and slightly scared expressions of the people in the busy room.
She could hear his footsteps clicking hastily behind her and suddenly felt his hand on her shoulder. He roughly turned her around, slapping her hard across the face as she turned. Bellatrix gasped, clutching her cheek and stepping back from him, looking at him in horror. He hadn't done that for so long… She was stunned. Evan was just behind Voldemort, his mouth wide open in shock, suspended, unable to do anything for her. Then behind Evan, she could see Rodolphus, an expression of sadness on his face; something she had never seen before and she didn't understand it.
Then she looked back to her husband, his blazing eyes and angry face and could see little alternative but to submit to whatever he was going to do to her now. He didn't look at all remorseful at his actions. Bellatrix knew she shouldn't have done what she'd done in front of everyone and now she was regretting that… But only that. She was resolved not to back down over her previous actions, in warning Posey of the approaching danger.
"Back upstairs," Voldemort told her quietly, glaring around him.
Bellatrix didn't need to be told twice. Without a second look, she walked purposely straight ahead towards the doorway and up the stairs, keeping her head held high even though she was sure there was a red mark on her face from where he had hit her.
When she reached their rooms, she heard a click of the door shutting behind her, which told her he had followed her here. He approached her, his face calmer now although she could still see the fury in his eyes. "Let me see." His gaze lingered on her cheek as he placed his fingers under her chin so that he could see the mark in the light. "I have bruise salve." He disappeared into their bathroom for a moment, and Bellatrix couldn't help but roll her eyes at him. Why the Dark Lord, of all people, had bruise salve, she would never know.
He appeared beside her a moment later, a dollop of pinkish cream on the tip of his finger. He gently smeared it on her throbbing cheek and slowly rubbed it in. It was cold, but it felt rather pleasant on her aching skin.
"I do not believe I have ever met anyone who makes me as angry as you do," Voldemort murmured, lifting her chin up once more to make sure he had covered the entire area.
"Likewise," Bellatrix mumbled back, very surprised to learn that she was not instantly terrified of him, like she used to be. "Must be true love."
Voldemort chuckled, slightly coldly, but it could have been worse. "Indeed." He released his hold on her and she turned away from him, sitting down heavily on the sofa.
"I won't back down," Bellatrix told him, looking up at him with narrowed eyes. He didn't react much. "And I won't have you turning your wand on me and not expecting or allowing me to fight back. I always will… And if you can't accept that, you might as well kill me now."
Voldemort's face suddenly broke into a smile. "That is acceptable, Bella," he said mildly. "However, let us try and keep our fights private in the future."
Bellatrix nodded, smiling back slightly. "I got carried away running from you," she admitted.
"I'm afraid we will have to agree to disagree on what you told Posey," Voldemort continued, sitting down next to her. "I believe you are in the wrong, nothing will change that."
"Nothing will change my feelings either, Tom," Bellatrix responded, definitely not willing to back down now.
"So I see," he said, his expression amused. "So, from now on I will have details of our progress in catching both Posey and your sister kept from you, to save you any pain."
Bellatrix smiled, properly. "Really?" she asked, unable to believe that he would consider her feelings on such a large scale.
"Yes, Bella," Voldemort replied, slipping his arm around her. "I have never felt the need to grow sentimentally attached to any person before you, I will not feel the need again… However, you are not me."
"Thank you, Tom." She turned around and pressed a gentle kiss on his lips. She felt a little relieved, she didn't want to have to go against his wishes again but she knew that when it came to the small amount of people she cared about, she would be unable to ignore her feelings and emotions. Feeling his fingers lightly caressing the spot he had slapped only a few minutes previously, she melted slightly inside, turning fully into his embrace and inhaling his scent.
Merlin, she loved her husband.
Bellatrix woke up, somewhat surprised to feel the warm body of her husband next to her. Normally he woke up early with something playing on his mind and went off to try and deal with it. Today was different though, today was his birthday and perhaps that was why he was sleeping in later.
She turned over, draping her arm around him and kissing the back of his neck, snuggling close. He stirred slightly but didn't appear to be waking up. Bellatrix didn't mind; she was enjoying the fact he was still there with her. His skin felt so delicious against her own and he smelt heavenly. She moved her hand over his firm abdominal muscles, asking herself once again if this perfect man really was her husband.
"Yes," he mumbled, turning to face her slightly although his eyes were still shut.
Bellatrix grinned sleepily, he loved dipping into her mind to hear what she was thinking about and today she could not chide him for it. She kissed him again. "Happy birthday," she whispered, licking the shell of his ear.
"Mm, thank you," he replied, turning over fully and opening his eyes to look at her.
Sighing in satisfaction, Bellatrix smiled back at him. She loved his red eyes so much; she knew not many wives had such a sexy, powerful and perfect husband and she was pretty sure she was the only one with a red-eyed husband who also happened to be the Dark Lord. He was completely unique.
"I am amazing, I know," he said, smirking at her.
"Stop it," Bellatrix told him, reaching out and brushing his hair back. "It might be your birthday but you can't keep going into my head like this. It's rude."
Voldemort chuckled and Bellatrix shivered slightly. Merlin, that was a decadent sound. "I remember two years ago you promised me sex and nothing but on my birthdays."
"Yes, dearest," Bellatrix said lightly, running her hands down his stomach again. "But don't forget the new years party I have planned tonight, after my amazing Halloween party."
"I also remembered something else you said about not throwing me a huge party and inviting all the death eaters?" he said playfully, shifting closer to her and slipping his arm around her.
"It's not a birthday party, Tom," Bellatrix told him firmly. "It's a new year party."
"Where are my presents?" he asked suddenly, sitting up and looking around the room.
Bellatrix sighed. After he had experienced his first proper birthday, he now tended to turn into a small child at the thought of presents and at the thought of a day completely dedicated to the pleasing of him and only him. She got out of bed and opened her wardrobe, pulling out a large box of gifts for him. Sometimes, she really regretted asking him when his birthday was…
Bellatrix was almost ready to head downstairs to check on the party preparations before her guests arrived when Voldemort came into the room. She'd carefully chosen her dress tonight. It was the exact same colour as his eyes, a deep red, it showed off her figure and had a long slit on either side, revealing a hint of leg.
He looked her up and down briefly, before smirking to himself and pulling off his clothes, chucking them on the bed for the elf to deal with. Bellatrix swallowed as she realised he was wearing the tight white underwear she'd bought him for his birthday – a change to his normal black and definitely a change for the better. The innocence of white suited everything about him.
Then he was pulling on his clothes and she couldn't see any more, it was very disappointing that she was going to have to wait until later. Her eyes lit up again as she saw exactly what he was putting on, tight fitting black trousers, a deep red shirt, black tie and his tailored dress robe over the top.
"You look so evil," she murmured, approaching him and putting her arms around him.
Voldemort laughed warmly. "Thank you," he said. "As do you." He stared at her dress for a moment. "Impressive," he murmured.
Bellatrix grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the mirror, lifting the skirt and putting it next to his eye. The shade was the same. She grinned, dropping the material down again. "I don't think anyone will doubt we are a couple tonight," she said.
"No, but then I don't think we care much about that," he responded, reaching up and tweaking one of her curls slightly. "Shall we?"
Bellatrix nodded. "There's cake downstairs," she said, as they left the room.
He sort of glared at her. "If it says 'happy birthday Tom' on it, I'm not sure I will be responsible for my actions."
Bellatrix snorted condescendingly. "You never are, dearest," she said with a grin back. "I'll fetch you a drink." She moved towards the heavily loaded drinks table and poured herself and her husband a large glass of red wine each. She looked over and saw that he was now talking to Evan.
As she crossed the room back to them, she could see how much of an effort Evan had put into looking his best tonight. "Have you got a date?" she asked him as she handed Voldemort his wine.
"No," Evan responded, scowling at her. "You told me to make an effort."
"You normally ignore me," she said, shrugging.
"My Lord." Bellatrix turned around and saw Barty was there, bowing low like he usually was.
"Crouch," Voldemort acknowledged quietly.
"I have brought an… Acquaintance of mine, to meet you, my Lord, if you don't mind," Barty continued. A man Bellatrix thought she might have known from school stepped forwards, bowing too. "My Lord, this is Severus Snape… He has just completely his masters in the art of potion making and I thought you may find him to be of use…"
Bellatrix sort of recalled the name, but apart from that she couldn't remember anything else. He was pale, sallow, his hair was limp and his robes had seen better days.
"Perhaps," Voldemort said coldly, looking Snape up and down. "Come with me." He beckoned Snape too follow him and they left the room.
"Honestly, Barty," Bellatrix said, exasperated. "This is meant to be a party."
Barty shrugged. "There are more important things than parties, Bellatrix."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes at Evan. Barty was such a serious young man, she really wanted to be able to get him to loosen up a bit.
Rabastan Lestrange shoved past Barty. "How are mummy and daddy, Crouch?" he said loudly, laughing to himself.
"Piss off, Lestrange," Bellatrix snarled, furious that he was being so childish.
"Going to tell on me?" Rabastan called back mockingly.
Bellatrix gripped her wand but Evan placed his hand on her arm. "He's not worth the trouble you'd get into."
"I definitely wouldn't get into trouble for that," Bellatrix snapped back. Evan had been very cautious since he'd seen Voldemort hit Bellatrix last month and was always on hand to make sure she didn't try anything stupid again.
Rodolphus was looking at her, seemed to want to come over but also seemed to be thinking better of it. Bellatrix thought Voldemort would go mad if he caught Rodolphus looking at, thinking about or talking to Bellatrix. "Well then, he's not worth the magic."
Bellatrix nodded, knowing he was right. "It's difficult not to be annoyed though."
"Lestrange just wishes he had my brains," Barty said quietly.
"Lestrange just wishes he had a brain," Bellatrix replied darkly, glaring over at him. "A single cell, anything." She looked around, seeing Voldemort come back in with Snape and was moving over to the drinks table with him.
Then Bellatrix noticed Narcissa and Lucius conversing lightly with Mulciber and his wife and excused herself from her group before moving towards them to say hello to her sister. Narcissa smiled, much more warmly than she previously had been, as she saw her sister and excused herself from the group.
"Looking gorgeous," Narcissa murmured, as they greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you," Bellatrix responded, smirking to herself. She definitely agreed, and judging by the looks Voldemort kept throwing her, he did too. She noticed Narcissa was wearing a rather loose fitting dress, very different to her normal style.
"You look beautiful too," Bellatrix said, frowning slightly. Narcissa looked different somehow.
Narcissa laughed. "Say it like you mean it," she said, mockingly.
"It's just not your normal style, Mrs Malfoy," Bellatrix replied, finishing her glass of wine. "Want another drink?"
"No, thank you," Narcissa replied, her expression suddenly serious. "Bellatrix, I have to tell you some news of Lucius and I's."
"You discovered he's actually a girl?" Bellatrix asked sarcastically, casting a look over at him. He was staring at them surprisingly intently.
Narcissa tutted. "There's nothing girly about him, he's all man, trust me," she responded, looking over at him too. "Bellatrix."
Bellatrix looked back at her, smiling at how happy her sister looked. "Yes, Narcissa?"
"I am pregnant."
Bellatrix's jaw dropped open. "I didn't even know you were trying!"
"It happened instantly, as soon as I stopped on my contraception… So unexpected, it normally takes a couple of years trying." Narcissa was grinning from ear to ear, although trying to hide it. "Twelve weeks."
"Congratulations," Bellatrix said, squeezing Narcissa's hand. She knew Narcissa had always wanted a family and now she was truly getting it. "Lucius is pleased?"
"So happy," Narcissa confirmed, looking over at him. He was now talking to Voldemort. "We don't know if it is a girl or a boy, and we don't want to know, either. Either would be perfect."
"It'll be a boy," Bellatrix responded, leaning forward slightly and pressing her hands on her sister's stomach. "Ooh, you do have a tummy!"
Narcissa giggled, pushing Bellatrix off. "Shh, we don't want everyone to know!" she said, looking around her. "It's grown very quickly."
"He," Bellatrix said smugly. "When have the Malfoy's not had a boy first." She felt a hand on her shoulder and as she turned she could see it was Voldemort and Lucius.
"Congratulations, Narcissa," he said softly. "Excellent news for you."
"Thank you," Narcissa responded, smiling at him slightly.
Voldemort turned to Bellatrix. "Would you like to dance?"
"I would love to dance," Bellatrix replied, grinning at him and then Narcissa. He led her towards the dance floor, holding her tightly in his arms as they swayed gently to the slow music.
"Are you pleased for your sister?" he asked her softly.
"Yes," Bellatrix said, and then suddenly grinned. "You're going to be Uncle Tom."
He scowled at her. "I shall be no such thing."
Bellatrix giggled to herself, resting her head on his shoulder. "Are you pleased?"
"I don't particularly care," he replied, and she could hear the smirk in his voice. "Do you remember when you thought you might be pregnant, a couple of years ago?"
"Yes," Bellatrix said, nodding slightly, wondering why he was bringing that up now.
"Do you recall us both being… secretly… disappointed… by the fact you were not?" Voldemort continued, his voice very soft now.
Bellatrix pulled back to look at him. "But the time was not right," she said, frowning slightly. "It still is not, we are in the middle of a war…"
Voldemort smiled at her, squeezing her tightly again. "What if the time is never right? Even if we win this war, we will be busy."
She pulled away from him slightly, her mouth open and her forehead burrowed. "What are you saying?"
He lowered his hand to the small of her back, turning them around slightly. "Would you like to try for a baby, my beautiful, perfect wife?" he murmured.
Bellatrix's head was spinning. She'd not considered children for many, many years… and yet part of her knew that he was right. When she'd spent a few days thinking she was pregnant, she'd resigned herself to it, thought of names and baby clothes and everything… When it turned out she was mistaken, she remembered how numb and empty she felt.
"I think I would, yes," she finally replied, looking up at him. He stopped moving them and lifted her chin up so that he could kiss her. "Happy birthday and happy new year, Tom," she said softly, smiling at him and feeling completely blissful.
"Happy new year, Bella," he replied, smiling back and kissing her again.
Bellatrix believed that the new year was going to bring them happiness, all of the happiness in the world. She couldn't wait.