The next two days were quiet for Bellatrix, she did very little but sit around, wishing she was at the Dark Lord's manor. There she felt more at home then at her family house, or at Hogwarts. She was just getting out of the bath when her Mother tapped on the door and informed her that she had an invite to dinner from the Dark Lord and that she was allowed to stay there until she returned to Hogwarts the next day.
Gleefully, she dressed and asked her Mother if she would send her Hogwarts trunk on that night.
Finally, she was at the manor, directing an elf to take her bag to the bedroom. Smoothing out her black gown and raking her fingers through her chocolate hair, she headed calmly for the dinning room where she could hear voices coming from. As she stepped in, she noticed that there were a lot more people attending this dinner then there usually was, and that, yet again, she was the only woman present.
"Ah, there she is," Voldemort said loudly, standing up. "I was beginning to wonder if you received my owl."
Bellatrix stepped towards him and curtseyed, and allowed him to kiss her hand. She sat down in the empty seat next to Voldemort as she spoke. "My Lord forgets that a woman needs adequate time to beautify herself," she said with a smile.
"A woman like you should need little time to beautify herself, it comes naturally, Miss Black," Voldemort replied. Bellatrix allowed her face to colour slightly. As the meal was served, and the men began to talk amongst themselves, Voldemort leant over and whispered into her ear. "I have a surprise for you after dinner, Bella."
Bellatrix smiled. The meal passed, taking longer then Bellatrix had hoped it would, and finally the Dark Lord excused himself and his young protégé, claiming they had much to discuss before the next day, and Miss Black's return to Hogwarts. Instead of leading her to the bedroom, as she'd hoped that was the surprise, she was led up the stone stairs of a tower. They reached the top, the warm August air hitting Bellatrix, the moon shining and the stars twinkling down at them.
"Your house is beautiful," Bellatrix murmured, looking down over the grounds.
Voldemort slid his arm slowly around her body, pulling her close to him. "Our house," he corrected her quietly.
"Soon," Bellatrix replied. "Not soon enough."
"The moment will arrive quickly, I am sure," Voldemort responded. "As you know, you're back to school tomorrow." Bellatrix nodded. "Which means, we will not see each other until Christmas. Of course, I shall write daily, but I believe you're the sort of girl that would want something with you all of the time?"
Bellatrix smiled. "Oh come on, what's this surprise? It was killing me all the way through dinner." Voldemort chuckled, and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a long, thin box covered in black silk, and handed it to her. She opened it. Inside, there was a silver bracelet with seven charms hanging off of it, a pointed star, a small ring with a ruby at the end of it, two tiny silver snakes, one coiled and one spread out, a shiny champaign bottle, a rose just like the one on her necklace, with tiny rubies set into it, and a tiny little tiara.
"They each represent something about you, and your life." Voldemort placed it gently on her wrist, and did it up carefully. "And there is one more for you when you leave school, I shall give that to you then."
Affectionately, Bellatrix reached up and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you. It's the best present I could have."
They stood up on the roof of the tower talking all night, until Voldemort decided that it was time for them to go to bed. Bellatrix knew she could have stayed up there all night, and slept on the train, but Voldemort wouldn't hear it. Instead, she had to be content that they were in bed together. She wasn't going to let that be the end though.
"Can I tell my best friend about us?" she asked as the room blackened into darkness.
"If you trust her. What's her name?"
"Ah, the Parkinson girl, of course you can tell her," Voldemort replied, pulling Bellatrix into his arms tightly. "I might have guessed you'd be friendly with her."
"She was at my birthday party, though I suppose you didn't have much chance to see her." She smiled, thinking back to the night of her birthday, and the events that had unfolded there. She wriggled slightly in his arms to get herself more comfortable. As sleep began to take her, she spoke once more. "You do know that you've always been the man every Slytherin girl dreams of getting," she murmured.
Voldemort frowned. "I had no idea," he replied, his hands running up and down her arms.
"It'll be fun to smile knowingly every time they mention what they'd like to do with you," Bellatrix continued softly, yawning.
"I'm sure you'll still be able to join in considering you've done nothing to me yet," Voldemort commented. "Shut up and go to sleep, you horrible wench."
Bellatrix smiled, and tilted her head slightly to kiss the side of his face affectionately. She really was going to miss him while she was at school.
"Bellatrix!" a girl screamed as Bellatrix followed Voldemort through the brick wall at King's Cross station. Bellatrix squealed happily as Posey raced towards her, and hugged her tightly.
"Posey!" Bellatrix replied, laughing. "Oh my god, I have got so much to tell you on the train, fancy going to get us a compartment while I say my goodbyes?" She gestured to Voldemort, who stood watching in interest.
Posey's eyes widened as she noticed who her friend was with. "Oooh," she replied, her eyes fixed on Voldemort, before she snapped out of it. "Of course." She grinned, and turned and got onto the train.
"I told you they all fancy you," said Bellatrix, turning to Voldemort. The Dark Lord pulled her close, his hand in her hair.
"I know." He smiled, but his face grew serious rapidly. "My beauty, I have many enemies at the school," he said very quietly, into her ear. "And if any one of them found out what we are planning, they will not stop until you are dead. Be very careful. Trust few people, always be aware." He kissed her hair gently. "Go on." He pushed her back slightly, pretending not to notice her eyes filling up with tears. "Write when you are settled in."
"I will," she replied, determined not to cry in front of him. "Be safe." She took a couple of steps back, her hand finding her charm bracelet.
"You too," he called as she got onto the train. Wiping her tears away, she walked down the row and found the cabin Posey had saved for them both. As she stepped in, the train began to move. She looked out of the window, spotting Voldemort walking down the platform, his hand raised in farewell. Their eyes met, and for a second Bellatrix just wanted to dive back out of the window, into his arms. He blew her a kiss, half a smile on his lips. She waved back, blowing him multiple kisses until he was unable to keep going down the platform. She watched him fade away into the distance, feeling tears prickle her eyelids once more.
"Bellatrix?" Posey murmured from behind her. "What is between you two?"
Bellatrix turned to look at her, and smiled, before sitting back down. "This is a complete secret. If this ever gets out, I will go to prison." She continued in a low voice. "The Dark Lord and myself are getting married."
Posey's eyes widened, her eyeballs looked as if they were about to pop right out. "What? When did this happen?"
"On the night of my birthday. I'm also his protégé, as you know, and I'm also falling very much in love with him." She sat back, her head leaning against the wall.
"I don't know about that." Bellatrix smiled, and laughed. "Could you imagine if he told me he loved me back? I wouldn't believe him. A man like him... I would be terrified."
"Oh, Bellatrix, I wouldn't be... He would never hurt you if he did. It's nothing to be scared of, surely?" Posey asked quietly, before she laughed. "Oh my goodness, Bellatrix, this is amazing! What about Rodolphus Lestrange, anyway? Weren't you meant to be marrying him?"
Bellatrix shrugged. "Since I started writing to the Dark Lord, they stopped trying to find me a man to marry, all engagements were called off." She lowered her voice. "Besides, he's one of the Dark Lord's supporters. I met them all, at his house, I stayed there for a few days. Oh, Posey, his house, it's to die for! You'll have to visit."
Posey smiled. "Why? What's good about it?"
Bellatrix paused, thoughtfully. "Well. It's about six stories high, almost as big as Hogwarts. His attic is filled with dresses." Posey's eyes widened again. "Oh, I can't do it justice by describing it, you can come and visit over Christmas and stay a few days."
"Won't the Dark Lord mind?" Posey asked nervously.
"No. He really won't. He's always busy during the day, anyway, and it's not like we sleep together."
"Why not?" Posey asked, confused. It was well known that Bellatrix Black was no sweet girl when it came to the bedroom.
"Father." She rolled her eyes. "Thinks my reputation will be tarnished."
"Already is," Posey responded, with a smirk.
Bellatrix feigned hurt. "Thanks, Posey. Thank you for being such a supportive friend."
As soon as the feast was over, Bellatrix went straight to her dorm to write to Voldemort. She was being overly eager, she knew, but he'd told her to write as soon as she was settled, and now she was.
It is too terrible. Everything seems too damned boring now I'm back here, life with you was interesting. Always something new happening. I've changed so much being with you. I don't know how to explain it, but I'm different.
I miss you already. So badly. There will be a Hogsmead weekend soon, can you get there? I'll let you know the date and time. Even just for an hour, just for lunch.
I can tell that you are very upset, much more then you let on. I know what is happening to you. It happens to every woman, at a different point in their life, not usually this young, I must admit. Perhaps I'll leave you to figure it out alone. I have changed you, and it's a change that will follow you for the rest of your life. Try not to distance yourself from your friends. You will need them throughout this next year.
Of course. We shall meet at Hogsmead and I shall take you out for lunch. Don't forget, you must come alone. Write to me when you know.
"What do you suppose each of these mean?" Bellatrix murmured to Posey during a Potions lesson, fingering her charm bracelet. "He said they each have a meaning, they are part of my life."
"The ring is obvious," Posey replied, feigning writing down from the board. "Marriage. The champaign for celebration, do you think?" Bellatrix nodded slowly. "The rose because it matches your necklace."
"Oh, yeh, I didn't think about that..." Bellatrix replied. "The tiara because he treats me like a Queen."
"No, I think it's because he wants you to be his Queen," Posey murmured. "Queen of the Death Eaters."
Bellatrix snorted softly. "I don't think he'll take it that far." She paused, looking carefully at their teacher before continuing her conversation. "The star." A memory came back to her. "Oh, he's always looking at the stars."
"That's not part of your life," Posey reminded her. "Perhaps it's because you're named after a star."
"I might ask him, if I ever get to see him again..." Bellatrix sighed. "This snake is for Slytherin, it looks just like the snake on our House emblem," she said, pointing at the spread out snake. "And this one..." She looked at the coiled snake. That was the hardest of all.
"This one you need to ask him about," Posey replied. "Any ideas what the last one is going to be?"
"No. He just said I'd have it when I left school. But there's so much going to happen when I leave school, I don't know which one it is... Marriage, becoming a Death Eater, training... I wonder if I'll get the mark before my training."
"That horrible tattoo?" Posey asked, sounding surprised. "You actually want it?"
"I think it's beautiful," Bellatrix replied softly, her eyes fixed on the coiled snake.
"What are you so happy about?" Macnair asked Bellatrix as she walked into the common room with a grin on her face. She'd been completely miserable for the first two weeks of being back at school, but now she was happy. In twenty one days she would be seeing Voldemort again.
"Hogsmead," she said to him randomly, before spotting Posey coming through the entrance of the common room. She took her to one side. "I got another letter," she said softly, ignoring the looks everyone was giving her. The entire room wanted to know why Bellatrix Black was suddenly so happy.
Posey smiled, knowing how much Bellatrix looked forward to her rare letters from the Dark Lord.
"We're going out for lunch during the Hogsmead weekend."
Posey grinned, and squeezed her best friends hand. "And? There's something else."
Bellatrix held up the letter he'd written her, and read out the last couple of lines. "I have never wanted to be in the presence of a person so badly," she read, unable to help her smile. "You are ever present in my thoughts, I often have to stop myself from talking about you too much lest one of my followers should realise how I truly feel, before I work it out myself. Your absence driving me this mad only proves to me that I love you. I love you. I love you. Bellatrix Black, I don't think I can live without you."
She folded the letter up and pressed it against her heart. "He loves me," she gasped. "The Dark Lord... Loves me."
"Are you terrified like you thought you would be?" Posey asked, knowing full well that her best friend wasn't.
"No, no, no," Bellatrix replied, louder now. People were watching her again. "In love!"
The seventh year boys all made clapping and cheering noises, followed up by a round of kissing sounds. Bellatrix rolled her eyes, and turned to glare at them. By themselves, she liked each of them. When they were put together, they were worse the toddlers. "Bellatrix Black's finally in love!" Morpheus Rowle said loudly. "Who's the lucky man?"
Bellatrix winked at Posey, before she turned, walking slowly towards the group. The room had gone quiet now, everyone wanted to hear this. Rowle looked like Christmas had come early when she wrapped an arm around his neck, and drew him in closer. She knew that this would get back to Voldemort, but she didn't care. He loved her. She leant in close to him, and whispered. One of the boys wolf whistled.
"Someone you want to be like, someone you want to know, someone you will know," she said softly into his ear. "And if you ever speak to me like that again, I will kill you." She stepped back, still smiling, but Rowle had gone white. "You will keep my lover a secret, won't you, darling," she said, playfully flicking his nose with her fingers.
"Y... Yes..." he replied. Bellatrix smiled, and turned away from him. The seventh year boys all crowded around Rowle, but he refused to speak. A few moments later, Bellatrix noticed him going to his dormitory.
"What did you say to him?" Posey asked.
"I told him if he ever spoke to me like that again I would kill him." Bellatrix smiled at the look of horror on Posey's face. "I know this is not a path you would ever wish to take, Posey, but it is my wish to be like the Dark Lord, his equal in every way. And to achieve that, I have to be like this."
"You're so different, Bell," Posey said in awe. Bellatrix smiled confidently.
"I'm so much better, you mean," she replied, her pride showing in her voice.
And she was.
Bellatrix had sent Voldemort a note telling him the date and time and place she would meet him, but didn't reply about anything else his previous letter had said. She wanted to save that for when she saw him.
On the morning of the Hogsmead weekend, she got up early and washed her hair, letting it dry into it's natural curly state. Using emerald clips, she pulled it back from her face, and walked towards her wardrobe. She needed the right outfit, something sexy yet casual that would look right with a thick jacket. She chose her black jeans, green stilettos and a chiffon emerald top which came just past the waist band of her jeans. She put on her rose necklace, and made sure her charm bracelet was safely in place.
She was one of the first out of the school ground, anxious not to be late for her lover. Her fur coat was tight around her, a fur hat keeping her ears warm. Outside the secluded area of the Shrieking Shack, Bellatrix felt safe, no one ever came this far up.
"You look nice." The familiar voice behind her made her turn around, and Voldemort was sitting on one of the posts of the fence around the shack. He gracefully jumped off. Bellatrix guessed he had been invisible while sitting there waiting for her.
"Thank you," she murmured, a small smile on her lips.
"Your last letter was short, I trust you are well?"
"I am very well," Bellatrix replied as he walked slowly towards her. "My last letter was short because I have something I wish to say to you, that cannot be done justice in a letter. I have forced myself, painfully, to wait until today."
Voldemort was right in front of her now, towering over her. "Really," he said, sounding interested.
"I love you, too," Bellatrix replied quietly, her eyes fixed on his. "I loved you from the first moment I saw you."
Voldemort chuckled, his hand finding it's way into her hair. "You're a special lady. My own Dark Lady, my Dark Queen." Posey's voice came floating into her head for a moment. "Queen of the Death Eaters..."
"What do you have in mind for the rest of my life, truly?" Bellatrix asked him, suddenly.
"What ever you like," Voldemort replied. "My wife... My queen, you shall have whatever you want."
"Why?" Bellatrix asked him, searching his well masked eyes.
"Because you're my companion."
"Say you love me," Bellatrix whispered.
"I love you," Voldemort replied, swooping down and claiming her lips for his own. "I think about you every moment of every day."
Bellatrix gasped, and kissed him back, hard. "My Lord," she murmured. Slowly, she brought his hands to her lips, and gently kissed his fingers. "I shall serve you like no other."
"Damn right," Voldemort responded, taking her hand and leading her around the back of the Shrieking Shack. "I did hear something slightly disturbing, though, about you and Morpheus Rowle. I do hope it isn't true."
She frowned up at him, startled. "What have you heard?"
"That you slept with him." Voldemort's gaze on her suddenly became very hard. "Bella, if this is true, I want to know. I shall not punish you, but if it should happen again..."
"It is not true!" Bellatrix bit back, pulling away from his grip. "He was rude, I told him I would kill him if he spoke to me like that again! Who is feeling you these lies?"
"Don't, Bella!" Voldemort replied, warningly. "You would ask the same if you heard rumours about me."
"Or maybe you could trust me!" Bellatrix replied, staring at him.
Voldemort was silent, he merely turned away from her, sighing quietly.
"Don't you trust me?" Bellatrix asked, in disbelief.
"I do." Voldemort turned around. "You're young. I merely thought you would want to be enjoying yourself with boys, not saving yourself for me."
"I've worked out what's different about me," said Bellatrix, her eyes fixed on his. "I've grown up."
"You have." Voldemort nodded, and stepped towards her. Bellatrix didn't move. "You're a woman, not a girl, or so I hope."
"A loyal woman, like I always promised you."
Voldemort was shocked at the amount of power and passion in her voice. He stepped closer to her once more, and kissed the top of her beautiful head.
"Come. I'll buy you lunch." He took her hand once more, and disapparated with her to Knockturn Alley. "How long do you have, my beloved?" he asked her as he looked wearily over his shoulder to check they weren't being followed, and to also check that she would be safe coming here with him.
"I have to be back at the castle at six," she replied quietly, aware of how dangerous Knockturn Alley was, even at the best of times.
"Good, we have plenty of time." He led her down the lane, and straight into Borgin and Burkes. "I have some business first," he murmured.
"Burke," Voldemort said, announcing his presence. The man behind the counter looked straight at him, before turning a ghostly white.
"Milord," Burke replied, bowing his head somewhat. Bellatrix hung back, watching carefully.
"Do you have it?" Voldemort asked coldly, glancing to Bellatrix for a moment.
"There was a... Problem... S... Sir," Burke responded, his voice shaking.
"A problem?" Voldemort stepped towards Burke. "Nothing serious I hope?"
"W... W... Well..." The old man continued to shake, but he didn't seem to want to speak.
"Perhaps I can coax the explanation from you," said Voldemort. Bellatrix could see his wand slowly raising. "Crucio." Burke clearly hadn't been expecting the spell, but he fell backwards onto the floor, screaming and crying. This had been the first time Bellatrix had seen the curse performed properly, she felt like she was glued to the spot, unable to move. The curse stopped, and so did the screams, but the crying didn't. Voldemort turned to look at her, one eyebrow raised as if asking her what she thought.
Bellatrix met his gaze, and for a moment Voldemort looked concerned, and then she smiled.
Voldemort shook his head, and leant over the counter, looking down to the man behind it. "I shall return in a week. You had better have it here then."
He turned, and took Bellatrix's hand once more, leading her out of the shop, and continuing down the alley. "I thought I'd upset you then," Voldemort murmured, kissing the shell of her ear.
"Of course not," Bellatrix replied. "You forget, I have performed this spell before. I understand it's effects."
"You don't fully understand it's effects until you've felt it," Voldemort replied. "And a powerful curse is far worse then a weak one, you understand that."
Bellatrix laughed. "First year stuff, darling."
"For you, I am sure." His arm around her tightened. "I look forward to training you. I expect you to be a good student."
"I pick things up easily," Bellatrix replied, following Voldemort into a seemingly grubby little pub called the Dancing Dragon. Once they were inside, she noticed it was not grubby at all. There were chandeliers and velvet seats.
"They serve the best steak in the entire Wizarding World," Voldemort murmured as they were shown into a private booth. The staff seemed to know exactly who he was, and exactly what he wanted.
"The usual bottle, my Lord?" the waitress asked, no sign of nerves around the Dark Lord.
"Yes, thank you, Alera," Voldemort responded, looking at Bellatrix for a moment and then smirking. "Two glasses."
"Yes, my Lord," she replied, writing it down. She handed them both the menu, but Voldemort didn't bother opening his.
"A usual haunt of yours?"
"Yes, I make a point to come here a couple of times a week when I can, they always save me this table," Voldemort replied, watching her carefully. "The food is worth it, and it's a nice place to bring business to."
Bellatrix noticed the prices at the side of the list of dishes, and raised an eyebrow. "I can tell," she murmured, as Alera brought the wine over.
"What can I get you?" she asked, setting the wine down.
"My usual steak, Alera," Voldemort said.
"And for the lady?"
"The Scottish smoked salmon canapé, please," Bellatrix replied, handing her the menu.
"Thank you," Alera replied, turning and walking away from them.
"This is going to cost a small fortune," Bellatrix said quietly as Voldemort poured them their wine.
"Nonsense. Bella, you had better learn that money is not a problem for me. Besides, this is nothing compared to the Valerian. It's twenty two galleons for a starter there, for goodness sake." Voldemort paused. "But it is the best food in the world."
Bellatrix laughed. "Perhaps you'll have to take me there some time."
"I have every intention of doing so. I shall await the most special occasion I can think of, and take you there and spend a fortune on you." Voldemort handed her the glass of wine. "Tell me what you think of that."
Bellatrix took a sip. "Mm, spicy."
"Indeed it is," Voldemort replied, sipping his own wine. "It's a pity we couldn't come here tonight, it's usually much more lively." He paused, and watched her for a moment, a small smile coming to his lips. "So. How is school going, my beloved?"
"Slowly," Bellatrix replied, smirking.
Voldemort chuckled. "And your NEWTs?"
"Boring as hell. I can't wait until I can be learning real magic."
"I am tempted to agree with you, and if it was my choice I would let you drop out now, but your Father wants you to continue."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "I wish he'd think a bit more like you."
Their food arrived quite suddenly, and Bellatrix tucked in. it was all delicious. "So, what do you plan to teach me?" Bellatrix asked a few minutes later.
Voldemort swallowed his mouthful of food. "The Dark Arts." He took a sip of his wine.
"Not going to elaborate then?"
"Not yet," Voldemort replied, with a smile. "I haven't begun your schedule yet, I suppose I should begin to plan it soon."
"I hope you're not going to have me writing essays," Bellatrix commented with a smile.
"Of course not," Voldemort replied, raising an eyebrow at her in surprise. "This is practical, no writing involved. Don't worry, you'll be free of all of that when you leave school."
Bellatrix looked relieved. "I have one more thing to ask you," she continued. "The coiled snake on the charm bracelet, what does it mean?"
Voldemort smiled. "Are you aware that I am the Heir of Slytherin?"
Bellatrix blinked in surprise. "I wasn't, no."
"I speak Parseltongue, she language of the snake, most commonly associated with Salazar himself."
"Wow..." Bellatrix responded softly, her mind whirling. She was marrying the Heir of Slytherin? Their children would be the Heir of Slytherin?
"That was there to represent our future, should we ever have children. It's a long way off yet, I know, but it is important."
Bellatrix smiled. "True. But it's been on my mind."
Voldemort stopped eating, and looked up at her. "That can wait. I'm not having one of my best fighters out of action for my child."
"I'm not even trained yet," Bellatrix replied with a smile.
"I'm confident you'll be my best."
The Dark Lord continued to eat, leaving Bellatrix wondering whether she actually would be the best or not.