Bellatrix was awoken to a tapping on her window. As she opened her eyes, she could see Shadow staring intently from her place on her bed. She turned over and realised there was an owl fluttering outside. Glancing back to Shadow, she laughed out loud and went to grab the letter from the foot of the bird.
It was an owl she didn't recognise. Intrigued, she cast a detection spell over it, just in case, and finding it clean she opened it.
I am not sure if you remember me from Hogwarts. I was friends with your cousin Sirius. I am tired of them putting me down and I want to offer my services to you now.
If you are interested then I will be alone outside of Borgin and Burkes this afternoon at one o' clock.
Bellatrix was amazed. She remembered Peter as being the sort of wimpy member of Sirius's gang, they didn't really want him there but he had no other friends.
She hopped out of bed and dressed hastily before heading to find Voldemort. She found him in the library and showed him the letter.
When he finished reading, he coolly handed it back to her. "You're not going."
Bellatrix sighed. "He will be useful. We cannot miss this opportunity."
"It's more likely to be a trap. Remember last time you walked into a trap?" he asked, eyebrows raised.
Bellatrix remembered only too well, even though that had been a few months ago now. "If it was a trap, why would he ask to meet me there?"
Voldemort shook his head. "I'm busy, Bellatrix," he said, waving her away.
Bellatrix glared at him before turning and leaving. She wasn't going to miss this opportunity lightly or without a fight.
Evan was dragging behind her as they walked towards Borgin and Burkes. "You're telling me now that he said no to you coming here?" he asked, his tone pretty miffed.
"He will regret it," Bellatrix replied, looking around her.
"One of the three of us will," Evan mumbled.
"That's him!" Bellatrix exclaimed softly, nudging her cousin. She recognised him instantly, he was pale with limp hair and an air of nervousness. "Definitely alone?"
"I wouldn't say definitely," Evan snapped back, clearly irritated with her for putting him in a dodgy position.
Bellatrix sighed. "You're worse than my husband," she said, before walking towards Peter.
He recognised her instantly too, but he didn't seem too impressed about Evan being there. "Who is he?" he said, his voice shaking slightly.
"None of your concern," Bellatrix bit back. "Tell me something interesting. Make me believe that you are genuine."
Peter looked taken aback at her bluntness. "I… Interesting?" he said, trembling.
"Surprise me. Tell me something about Sirius and his mates, tell me why I should believe you." She stared at him, long and hard, until he nodded.
"Do you remember Lupin?" Peter asked, his voice quiet.
"Yes," Bellatrix replied, nodding at him.
"He's a werewolf."
Bellatrix's jaw dropped. There had always been something odd about Lupin, she remembered that. He was often taking leaves of absence from the school and being missed at breakfast. This made sense. Peter had just betrayed a huge secret from someone he called a friend, Bellatrix could see that Sirius's jokes and comments had angered Peter so much he was willing to betray them all.
"Anything else?" Bellatrix asked, careful not to react any further.
"There's a meeting," Peter blurted out. "Next week, in the same place as they trapped you into last time."
"Are you in the order?" Bellatrix said, wondering if this was going to be their break into the order.
Peter silently nodded.
"You'd better come with us," Bellatrix said, seeing Evan nodding at her.
Terrified was not a strong enough word to describe Peter's face. "Why?" he asked, his tone so high pitched it sounded like a squeak.
Bellatrix turned to him and smiled. "You should meet the Dark Lord."
Voldemort was as displeased as she knew he would be. He alternated his glaring between the three of them. Bellatrix could see Evan visibly shrink under the heated gaze.
"Wait outside you two," Voldemort snapped suddenly, his decision clearly made. He was looking at Bellatrix as he said it and she could only assume he meant her and Evan.
She frowned at him, opening her mouth to complain before Evan had grabbed her wrist and was dragging her outside. "He can't just send me away like that!" Bellatrix said indignantly, crossing her arms as they came to a halt just down the hallway.
"He just did," Evan pointed out. "For Merlin's sake, you've pissed him off once today, there is no need to do so again."
Bellatrix smirked at him. "Baby."
"Sometimes I don't think you realise what he is capable of," Evan said, raising his eyebrows at her.
"Of course I know," Bellatrix replied, grinning now. "I've been on the receiving end often enough."
Evan grimaced and moved away from her slightly.
"What?" Bellatrix asked, frowning at him.
"I hate to think of…" Evan trailed off, shaking his head.
Evan spun back around to face her, apparently slightly angry judging by his facial expression. "Him hurting you!" he said, keeping his voice low. "I wish you wouldn't wind him up so much."
Bellatrix nodded, understanding his concern. "I married the Dark Lord, Evan," Bellatrix said softly. "I knew what I was marrying into… I… Merlin, I call him by his real name, he hasn't told anyone else his real name since he left school, pretty much."
Evan nodded, letting her words sink in. "It's obvious he loves you."
Bellatrix felt a smile creep to her face. "Is it really?"
"Yes," Evan said firmly. "But his temper…"
"I threw my hairbrush at him once, you know. I have a temper too."
Evan snorted. "I think you're just stupid."
Bellatrix laughed. "Probably." They grinned at each other. "You're my best friend, Evan."
Her cousin nodded. "Likewise. I'm glad you're here… I'm glad to have you," Evan replied in a hurry, and Bellatrix knew it had been difficult for him to say it. She grabbed him and pulled him into a hug.
"I promise I won't do anything reckless, even again," Bellatrix said, squeezing him before letting him go.
"Are you quite finished here?" a cold voice asked from behind them. Bellatrix jumped, turning to face the voice, which was inevitably going to be her husband. He looked pretty irritated still. "Rosier, I am sure that you were dragged into this with no clue as to the outcome, you may go."
Evan glanced to Bellatrix apologetically before bowing to Voldemort and disapparating.
"You are wrong to drag him into this."
"I'm always wrong," Bellatrix said with a shrug.
Voldemort stared at her for a moment before sighing. "Not always, it seems."
"Pettigrew good then?" she asked, tentatively stepping towards him and trying not to sound too smug.
"It would appear so." He took her hand, slowly walking her towards their rooms. "Did you know the whole bunch of them are unregistered animagi, your dear cousin Black included?"
Bellatrix was shocked. "How did they pull that one off?"
"In their fifth year it seems, under the very nose of Dumbledore. It was so that they could go on nightly excursions with their little werewolf friend."
Bellatrix snorted. "There was always something odd about Lupin."
"What baffles me is that your cousin Regulus apparently didn't know anything about this, and why he didn't think to come to me when Sirius was disowned and joined the order," Voldemort said, looking over at her.
"He and Sirius weren't ever close," Bellatrix said quickly, eager to protect Regulus, who was quite frankly turning into a liability.
"Perhaps he should have tried a bit harder," Voldemort replied, his tone slightly cold.
"The whole family knew he had joined you." She quickly shut up when she saw he had stopped walking and was giving her a very dirty look.
"I'll warn you now, I don't trust Regulus. Not one bit." His face was blank now. "I will have him killed if this continues. There's too much missing information from him."
Bellatrix swallowed, staring up at him. The worst thing was, she knew he was right and she agreed with him, even though she had always kept that quiet. "I wouldn't blame you," she murmured, feeling like a traitor to her own family. She knew she had to side with him, it was her duty and she loved him.
He nodded, staring solemnly at her. She could feel him looking into her mind. Bellatrix shivered, disliking the feeling. Then he had taken her hand and was leading her on again. "We all have to choose a side, Bella."
"It's just… It's like I'm loosing my identity… As a Black," she murmured, glad the house was quiet.
"Then you'd better make a new one for yourself," Voldemort said as they reached their rooms. Bellatrix followed him up the stairs, unable to help herself from staring at his bottom.
"What do you suggest?" she asked him, watching as he poured them both a glass of wine.
"Cut them all off," Voldemort replied, watching her carefully as he stepped back across the room. He handed her the glass.
"Evan and Narcissa…"
Voldemort sighed lightly. "You care too much. I cut my family ties when I was sixteen."
Bellatrix shook her head. "You never knew them though. They were family only in name."
"They deserved what happened to them!" Voldemort snapped, suddenly angry. "He left my mother to die, knowing she was pregnant with me."
Slightly startled at his sudden outburst of hatred against his father, Bellatrix put her hand around his free hand. "Of course they deserved it," Bellatrix murmured in what she hoped was a soothing tone. "But mine do not."
"My only regret is that I didn't hurt them enough," he continued, his voice slightly calmer. "I would bring them to life and kill them over a century if I could."
Bellatrix let go of his hand, withdrawing from him. She didn't know this side of him, and she didn't know what to do.
He turned away from her slightly. "My poor mother."
Certain things suddenly made sense to Bellatrix. He had never been loved, growing up. There had been no mother, and just a tale of a father who abandoned them both, leaving both of them to die. She understood why he hated so much. Feeling sad, Bellatrix set her glass down and moved towards him, putting her arms around his shoulders from behind.
"My love," Bellatrix murmured, resting her head against his back. He didn't move. Bellatrix knew she had turned out the way she had because her parents had always spoken about how mudbloods would be their demise. She was sure her first word must have been mudblood. Filthy was probably her second. "I don't hate as you do."
He tilted his head and rested it on her hand that was on his shoulder. "But you hate."
"Of course, I can't bear to think of pure blood lines, the lines of our ancestors, being ruined by those that breed with muggle scum," Bellatrix said passionately.
Voldemort turned to look at her, his smile slightly forced. "Why don't you go and run us a bath, darling. I would like to relax with you."
Bellatrix nodded, knowing he was changing the subject but at the same time not really minding. It was a heavy topic.
"Yes, my love," Bellatrix responded, kissing him briefly. "Why don't you top our glasses up." She smiled at him, and left the room.
Voldemort watched her as she left, his smile fading slightly. He wanted to tell her the truth, more than anything, he loved her. He couldn't believe it, but he did. Six pieces of soul scattered around the world and somehow… He loved her. But he was frightened. He needed to admit that to himself to get over it. She must be suspicious from his behaviour whenever the topic came up, his defensiveness… But she loved him so much, she didn't comment on it.
He wanted to tell her he was a half blood; his stupid father was a muggle, plain a simple. His mother had been stupid, seduced, lonely – anything. But Bellatrix hated the mix of blood more than anything. She hated muggles, mudbloods, half bloods. She would hate him.
As he poured their wine, he realised that he didn't think he could live without her. The thought of killing her himself, and that would have to happen if she found out and reacted badly, was abhorrent. The thought of someone else doing it for him and messing the job up was even worse; he didn't want her to suffer at the hands of anyone else.
"Tom!" he heard her call from the bathroom.
"Coming," he called back.
And so he knew he would never be able to tell her.
Bellatrix was in the middle of a surprisingly amicable conversation with Lucius, about Narcissa and the baby. Lucius was quite sure it was going to be a boy, as was Bellatrix, but Narcissa was not convinced and was worried, as she didn't seem to be enjoying pregnancy and didn't want to go through it again.
Lucius was explaining Narcissa's hilarious cravings when Evan approached, his face very concerned. "Evan?" Bellatrix asked, watching him carefully. He seemed to be frozen looking between the two of them.
"Bella." Evan was looking at her now. "It's Regulus." He glanced to Lucius again.
"Regulus is apparently my cousin too, now," Lucius said, wrinkling his nose in distain.
"What's he done now?" Bellatrix asked, with a groan.
"He…" Evan trailed off. "Apparently, he was meant to be going out with Lestrange today… Well, all of last week, and he never showed up once."
"There's a change," Bellatrix mumbled.
"Lestrange wrote, telling him to get his ass here now… And Regulus responded with…" Evan swallowed and then exhaled loudly. "He's defected."
"He's what?" Bellatrix asked, thinking her ears were deceiving her.
Both Evan and Lucius were staring at her, both slightly worried looking.
"You can't defect from being a death eater!" Bellatrix snapped. "You can't just quit!" Then she paused, looking at Evan. "When you say… defected… Do you mean he's joined the order?"
Evan shrugged. "I don't know. There were only three words in the note back. 'I have defected', it said."
"Merlin," Bellatrix muttered, rubbing her eyes. "What a twat." She didn't like to ask her next question, but thought she should. "Does he know?" she asked Evan.
"Lestrange is with him now."
Bellatrix cursed under her breath. Typical Lestrange, always had to be the first to spread the news.
"I should get home," Lucius said. "I better tell Narcissa, before she finds out some other way. I don't want her upset."
"You might as well tell her he is dead," Bellatrix called after him as he walked away. "What a mess," Bellatrix said to Evan.
"Don't get involved."
"I have to. He's told me to pick a side and so… I'd better."
Bellatrix sighed lightly to herself.
"But what is your side?" Evan asked, his expression tense and worried.
Patting him on the shoulder briefly with a sad smile, Bellatrix turned and headed towards Voldemort's office.
Rodolphus was standing as Bellatrix walked in and Voldemort was looking out of the window.
"You've heard?" Voldemort asked, not turning around as she shut the door.
"Yes," Bellatrix responded coolly. "Do you have a plan?"
Voldemort turned around finally, looking carefully at her. "Rodolphus needs to find him."
Bellatrix nodded, looking to Rodolphus. "Let me know if you need any help tracking him down."
Rodolphus frowned at her slightly. "We'll be fine, thank you."
"Of course," Bellatrix said, trying to keep her voice cool. "You're all very capable."
Rodolphus glanced over to Voldemort before nodding slightly. "Well, I'd better…" He bowed slightly, before he turned and left the room.
There was silence.
"It's fine, you know," Bellatrix said softly.
He didn't reply.
"It's my fault."
His gaze snapped to hers. "How do you work that out?"
Bellatrix shrugged. "I asked you to initiate him. You probably only did it because I asked."
"No," Voldemort said, his tone flat. "I would never do that for something as important as choosing someone to join me. It is not your fault, do not say it is."
With a nod, Bellatrix moved closer to him. "It's a bit of a relief, really."
Voldemort strode towards her in two steps, grabbing her and pulling her body tightly into his. Bellatrix sighed, putting her arms around him as well. She inhaled his scent, feeling instantly soothed. She was happy to stand here like this forever, and she thought Voldemort might be too.
Then there was a knock on the door. Voldemort pulled back to look at her with a smile. "I won't let go of you while you sleep tonight," he murmured, leading her to the sofa in the corner of the room. "Sit there, and I'll be done as soon as I can."
Bellatrix smiled, she was so relieved he was being so kind to her. The door opened, and she was surprised to see Snape coming in.
"I hope I was not disturbing you, my Lord," Snape said, stiff as usual. He glanced over to Bellatrix and then back to Voldemort.
"Not at all," Voldemort said coolly.
"I had been hoping to speak to you alone, my Lord," Snape continued.
"You may speak before Bellatrix."
Snape nodded, not entirely happy by the look on his face. "I overheard something of interest… Just today, in the Hogs Head Inn."
"Very well, what was it?" Voldemort asked, sounding slightly impatient.
"I saw Dumbledore arrived, and heard him say that he was interviewing for a divination professor. He went to a back room. Shortly the woman arrived, she introduced herself as Sybil Trelawny."
"I have heard of several Trelawny's as well known Seers," Voldemort said, his eyes narrowing somewhat.
"So I thought, my Lord," Snape replied, his voice deadpan. "I thought it best to try and overhear some of their… conversation. No doubt Dumbledore would want to test her Seer skills."
"Quite," Voldemort replied.
"It is rather crude, my Lord, but I hid outside of the room in order to listen to their conversation. What I heard is… Rather obtuse… It seems that a prophecy was today made about you, my Lord. This Trelawny was in a trance it seems. I'm afraid to say that I only heard the beginning, I was… Interrupted by the landlord before the end."
"And you remember what you heard of this prophecy?" Voldemort asked, sounding intrigued.
"Oh yes, my Lord. It goes as follows: 'the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...'"Snape paused. "And then it is here that I was interrupted."
Voldemort was silent and unmoving. Bellatrix didn't like the sound of this so-called prophecy, not one bit.
"How interesting," Voldemort said softly. "A baby… Coming to destroy me?" He smirked. "Thank you all the same, Snape." He waved his hand.
Snape bowed, forcing a smile that somehow didn't look right on his lips. "My Lord," he said, before turning and leaving the room.
Voldemort looked over at Bellatrix. "Trelawny."
"Her mother and grandmother must be the famous Seers. If she has their talent then…"
"That was only beginning of it."
"You only need the beginning of it," Bellatrix said, standing up. "Born at the end of July, to parents that have wronged you three times. We can work that out."
Voldemort nodded. "Of course we can." He smiled. "But it's nothing to worry about yet."
Bellatrix nodded, smiling back and hugging him again. "Love you, Tommy."
He squeezed her tightly and tickled her ribs.
"Stop it!" Bellatrix squealed, pulling back.
"You started it."
"You started it," Bellatrix said, pulling him in for a kiss. "You're my Tommy."
"Merlin," Voldemort said, rolling his eyes. "I've married a child."
Bellatrix laughed. "It's not my fault you're old."
"Oi!" Voldemort said, poking her in the ribs. "Don't make me withhold sex from you."
"As if," Bellatrix sneered, unbuttoning her robes to flash her cleavage. "You couldn't resist these for five minutes."
Voldemort laughed, holding her tight. Bellatrix realised how nice it felt just to laugh together like this. She loved him so much.
Then there was a quiet tap on the door and Evan walked in. His expression was dark.
"It's done," he said, looking first to Bellatrix and then Voldemort.
"He is dead?" Bellatrix asked, unable to believe that they had found him so quickly.
"Yes." Evan nodded briefly to her before exiting the room once again.
Bellatrix folded herself back into Voldemort's arms, surprised that she wasn't as upset as she thought she would be. She looked up at Voldemort, and he smiled knowingly back down at her. Bellatrix had picked his side.