Bellatrix was feeling very depressed. It was at these fancy dinners Voldemort liked to put on for his most trusted followers where she'd always had a chance to have a laugh with Evan. They'd make fun of Lestrange and Lucius and laugh over the latest new recruits terrible duelling skills. She really missed him, more then she realised she would. She was only glad he'd died doing what he loved.
It was only Lucius, Rodolphus and Crouch at the dinner with them. That made it all the worse. On one side of her she had Voldemort and on the other side she had Barty. Just across from her was Rodolphus, who was doing everything he could not to see her, and then Lucius.
"How is Draco?" she asked Lucius, as they began to eat their main course.
"A true Malfoy," Lucius replied, smirking. "He knows what he wants."
"Of course he does," Bellatrix said, knowing that meant he was being given exactly what he wanted and completely spoilt, even at the age of two months.
Lucius started to talk to Voldemort and Rodolphus so she turned to Barty. "No Mrs. Crouch for you?"
Barty snorted. "I'm rather preoccupied with other things at the moment."
"Such as?" Bellatrix asked, slightly intrigued by Barty.
"Bettering my position here, of course."
Bellatrix was interested to see how completely serious he was. She knew he was ambitious, but she hadn't realised how ambitious.
"You're doing very well," Bellatrix said softly, smiling at him.
Barty frowned. "I don't need you to tell me how I am doing," he snapped, although he was quiet. "You aren't important to me."
Blinking in surprise, Bellatrix pulled back. "No need to be rude," she said, feeling a bit hurt he felt like that about her. "I might not be important to you, but I am important to someone who matters a lot when it comes to deciding upon your future."
"I could easily replace you," Barty said, his voice very confident. "I don't see anything in you that I do not have."
Bellatrix couldn't help the laugh that escaped her lips. Apparently Barty had absolutely no idea about her relationship with Voldemort, something all of the others at least had some idea of. Clearly he wasn't as smart as he thought he was.
"Something funny?" Voldemort asked, looking back to her.
"No, nothing," Bellatrix said, hiding her smile. She didn't want Barty to hate her more than he already seemed to.
The plates of their finished mains disappeared. Voldemort looked around him. "Well, I asked you here tonight because there is something I have to tell you." Bellatrix could see Rodolphus's face change to that of concern, she wondered what he'd done. "You four are my most trusted and therefore I feel I am able to tell you this, so that you can help me."
Bellatrix glanced to Barty. He was staring at Voldemort with rapt interest, and Bellatrix thought he looked very proud of himself too. She wrinkled her nose, wondering if Barty had the hots for Voldemort or something. Then she realised Barty probably wasn't at all interested in anything on that subject.
"It seems a prophecy has been made about myself, and some unfortunate baby that is now around a month old. Our potions expert, Severus Snape, overheard the prophecy being made."
Bellatrix noticed that Lucius didn't seem at all surprised and she wondered if Snape had told him. They had formed some sort of unusual friendship; Snape was often at Malfoy manor, now he had some money and had cleaned himself up a bit. Bellatrix found the friendship very strange.
Voldemort glanced over to her before he continued. "He was interrupted before he could hear the end."
"What did he hear, my Lord?" Barty asked, his tone curious.
"He heard that a child would be born at the end of August, to parents that had defied me three times." Voldemort paused, slightly awkward. "The prophecy claims that this child will be my destruction."
Barty seemed shocked, but he looked away, shaking his head.
"It hardly seems reasonable, my Lord," Rodolphus said after a moment.
"It was not meant to reach me, of course," Voldemort said. "Perhaps Dumbledore means to bring the child up in secret."
"And – the child - who is it?" Barty asked, almost breathless. Bellatrix suspected he wanted to leave right now to finish the child off and cement his place next to Voldemort.
"That is where I need help." Voldemort sipped on his wine. "There are so many that have wronged us," he said beckoning to Bellatrix slightly. "The Longbottom's have been especially bad, but I am not sure that they have just had a child."
"I can check the ministry birth records," Lucius said with a firm nod. "I will bring you the name of every child born at the end of August. They will all be registered by now."
Voldemort nodded. "That would be very helpful, as would any thoughts any of you have."
Rodolphus nodded. His eyes flickered to Bellatrix for a moment, a small moment, and then he looked back to Voldemort. Bellatrix wondered what he was thinking.
"It goes without saying that none of this must leave the room. Only Snape knows, you may discuss it with him if you feel you have a suggestion," Voldemort continued, inhaling sharply. He looked over at Bellatrix. "Would you fetch that bottle of vintage port?" he asked.
Bellatrix smiled at him, nodding. "Of course," she said, standing up and exiting the room. She was glad he seemed to finally be taking some action against the prophecy; she was hoping it would be sorted very soon.
Bellatrix stood excitedly in the entrance hall, watching as her gorgeous husband descended the stairs. He looked very handsome in his tight fitting black dress robe, so handsome she worried she looked awful compared to him, even though she'd spent ages getting ready and was wearing a particularly beautiful midnight blue dress herself.
As he reached her, he picked up and hand and kissed it. "My lady," he said, looking up at her with a smirk. "You look so beautiful."
Bellatrix smiled, her heart fluttering slightly. "So do you,' she heard herself say, slightly breathless.
"Stop it," he said quietly as he linked his arm through hers and led her outside. "You've known me for years, you're acting like a school girl again."
"You get more gorgeous every day," Bellatrix said, smiling at him again. "I don't know how it is possible."
Voldemort turned to face her, cupping her cheek with a smirk as he disapparated them to their restaurant.
"Eyes," Bellatrix mumbled, nudging him as they walked in. Voldemort looked down for a moment, and when he looked up his eyes were back to a normal, and boring, in Bellatrix's opinion, colour.
"We have a reservation," Voldemort said coolly to the waitress. "Under the name of Riddle."
Bellatrix smiled, looking up at him in surprise.
"Of course, follow me Mr. and Mrs. Riddle," she said, smiling at them. They followed and were seated in a private corner of the room.
Voldemort laughed softly as she walked away, his eyes fixed on Bellatrix. "I thought you would like that."
"I like it very much," Bellatrix replied, reaching forwards and holding onto his hand. "Is there an occasion for this?"
"No," Voldemort said, looking down. "Well, maybe," he admitted a moment later. "I don't like it when you are sad."
Bellatrix was a little taken aback by that. "I'm not that sad."
"You don't need to deny it," Voldemort said, looking up into her eyes. "You don't need to change it either. I just wanted to temporarily cheer you up."
"Mission accomplished," Bellatrix told him, grinning. "I have my shallow moments. A bit of wine and nice food and I'm happy."
Voldemort chuckled. "You aren't shallow, my love. You're just demanding."
Bellatrix pouted. "There's no need to be mean."
"Honest," Voldemort said, nodding at her.
Their meal passed with easy conversation and heavy flirting. Bellatrix loved that they still had that sort of relationship, with so much chemistry. It was wonderful. She was full of food and slightly drunk by the end of the night.
"You'll have to carry me home," she told him, after she drained her wine glass.
"I don't mind," Voldemort said, eying her appreciatively. After a moment, he spoke again. "I wanted to let you know, that I have decided."
"Decided?" Bellatrix asked, feeling slightly confused about what he was talking about.
"That it is Potter."
Bellatrix exhaled, sitting back in her seat. "Oh, that."
"I'll tell Lestrange and Crouch to make some preparations," Voldemort said, looking carefully at her. "We'll finish this business once and for all."
Bellatrix nodded, looking down at her wine. She thought he was making the right decision.
"Firstly though, I'd better get you home to show you how much I love you."
She looked back up and saw his gorgeous smile, and knew that there was no way that she could disagree with that idea. He was what she lived for and she adored it when he was in a brilliant mood like this.
Voldemort strode into the dinning room, sitting down across from her with a thump. He looked irritated.
"What's wrong?" Bellatrix asked, standing up and pouring him a large glass of wine.
Her husband smiled briefly at her, taking a sip of his wine before speaking. "Snape has just been for a visit."
Bellatrix was surprised that Snape appeared to be the source of Voldemort's irritation, since he never usually said or did anything wrong. "Botched potion?" she asked, keeping her voice aloof.
"Nothing of that sort," Voldemort replied, sitting back in his seat, completely ignoring the steak before him. "On his knees, begging me not to kill Lily Potter. Apparently he heard about it from Crouch and Lestrange."
"And only her?" Bellatrix asked, wondering why on earth Snape would care if she lived or died.
"Oh yes," Voldemort responded, nodding, his expression still cold. "Not in the slightest bit interested in Potter himself, or their boy. Just the mudblood." He picked up his wine, swirling it absently. "It seems he met her as a young child and has been quite in love with her since then."
"How did he meet her?" Bellatrix asked, frowning. It was unusual for purebloods to meet mudbloods before their Hogwarts days.
"He grew up in the muggle world, he is a half-blood," Voldemort replied lightly, tucking into his meal now.
"You knew this and let him join us?" Bellatrix asked incredulously. "A filthy half-"
She stopped talking as soon as she noticed the dangerous glint in his eye. It wasn't the first time she'd seen it when they got onto the subject of half-bloods and she was now wondering why.
"Tom," she said gently. "Did you kill Snape?"
"No," Voldemort replied shortly. "He is too useful… Especially since he also has told me he got a job at Hogwarts to teach potions. I explained to him how wrong he has been, how he should seek to cancel out his bad blood by marrying a pure-blooded woman. He agreed… He said I am correct, that she married Potter and it was never to be…"
"But still doesn't want her dead?" Bellatrix asked, frowning again. She didn't understand how Snape could be in love with a member of the order and yet wish to become a Death Eater. She didn't entirely trust him.
"And what did you say?" Bellatrix asked, seriously hoping her husband hadn't completely lost it.
"I gave him no answer," Voldemort said, smirking suddenly. "The girl doesn't need to die. Only their son and his father for good measure. If she gets in the way… Of course… But I have never planned for her to die… I like the idea of her life being ruined."
Bellatrix didn't respond. She didn't see the point in leaving the mother alive as well, she was a mudblood and the world would be better off without her. She didn't comment though, it wasn't worth the argument.
"Anyway, that will be a while off yet. Wormtail tells me that the Potter's are thinking of living under the Fidelius charm."
"You'd better act before they do that then," Bellatrix said, sipping her wine.
"But what if it isn't them?" Voldemort said, his voice quiet. "What if I have chosen wrong?"
"Then there will be less half-bloods in the world," Bellatrix said, but she was quiet too.
"If I choose them, by killing them, then I may change the prophecy. I don't know how much of it I have heard," he continued.
"Rookwood is an unspeakable - you could ask him," Bellatrix added.
Voldemort shook his head. "I can't blow his cover yet."
Bellatrix sighed. "Perhaps Wormtail can convince them to make him secret keeper."
"Wormtail thinks they have chosen Black."
Bellatrix scowled. She hated her cousin so much, why he had to fight them so hard was beyond her. He never had many morals before. "We'd better scare him a bit then," she said darkly. "Oh – Before I forget. Narcissa wants to have a little party for Draco, for Halloween and his four-month birthday. Next week, you have to come."
"How long are these monthly birthdays going to continue?" Voldemort asked, having taken a long sip of his wine. He'd suffered through three of these monthly 'birthday' parties and was tired of them now.
"No idea, but he is our nephew and we have to go," Bellatrix said firmly. "It's cute."
"He is the most spoilt child I have ever seen," Voldemort said with a scowl.
"I'm sure ours will trump that," Bellatrix replied, grinning.
"Draco will replace Lucius one day. What am I going to do with a spoilt brat?" Voldemort asked her dryly.
"Manage without a Malfoy? I'm sure things will be very different by then. You'll have sons," Bellatrix told him with a smirk.
"Many sons?" Voldemort asked, tilting his head inquisitively.
"And daughters," Bellatrix added. "Celibate daughters."
Voldemort laughed, before standing up. "Come to bed," he said, and Bellatrix didn't really feel like she could deny him that. She smiling, standing up and moving towards him, enveloping herself in his arms and inhaling his scent. "My love," Voldemort murmured, resting his head on top of hers. "My beautiful wife."
Bellatrix smiled, squeezing him tightly. She really did have the perfect husband.
Bellatrix awoke to an empty bed the next morning. She yawned and stretched, turning over and realising that the other side of the bed hadn't even been slept in. She smiled, wondering if her husband had pulled another of his all nighters. She half expected to find him asleep on his desk, possibly with his head resting on an open book.
"That's dedication," she told Shadow as she got out of bed. The cat looked over at her in disinterest. "Or madness." She snorted to herself as she pulled her robes over her head and headed towards the office to wake him up.
The house was empty. It was still early, but she was sure she would find Rodolphus and his stupid friends in the waiting room if she could be bothered to go down. She opened the door to the office, and then frowned as she realised it was empty in there too. As she entered the room, she could see it hadn't been disturbed since yesterday. Everything was where it should be.
Puzzled, she withdrew from the office and headed down the stairs to the ballroom, half expecting him to be duelling with Barty or someone. The ballroom was empty. Beginning to feel slightly concerned, she made her way down to the waiting room. She was very worried when she saw that was empty as well. Where on earth was everyone?
She stood in the entrance hall, suddenly aware of the fact that she was here alone, for what was possibly the first time ever.
Bellatrix pushed her worried thoughts from her head as she considered Voldemort may have just gone to Malfoy manor last night and not made it back yet. Maybe they'd had a few drinks too many. That wasn't an unreasonable thought.
A resounding crack echoed through the house as she disapparated. When she appeared at Malfoy manor, she knocked loudly on the door. She was shocked when Lucius answered it.
"Killed all your house elves?" she asked, grinning at him.
He stared blankly back at her. "Come inside," he said, his voice quiet. Before he closed the door behind her, he glanced furtively out of it before closing it firmly behind him and locking it.
"Cat got your tongue?" Bellatrix asked, smirking. "Where is he, then?"
Lucius stared at her blankly once more. "Bellatrix…"
"You don't have to cover for him, I'm used to this happening occasionally." She smiled, before noticing Lucius was still staring at her as if she had run mad.
"Look at your mark," Lucius said, his brow furrowed.
Bellatrix rolled her eyes at him. "What is your problem?"
"Just do it," Lucius snapped.
Bellatrix sighed and lifted her sleeve. Then she felt a strong urge to vomit.
Her dark mark had vanished.
She looked up to Lucius, feeling her heart rate increasing. "What's going on?" she asked, her tone panicked.
"He went last night. To James Potter. They made Wormtail the… the secret keeper… that's all I know for sure… He came here first to tell me, late last night when you were asleep, his decision made… Didn't want to worry you…" Lucius's voice was shaking. "Their house is destroyed, the whole country are saying that he is dead."
"He can't be dead, Lucius," Bellatrix whispered. "I… I have seen the magic… He cannot die."
"Our marks have gone, Bellatrix!" Lucius retorted. "What do you have to say to that?"
"I…" Her head spun and suddenly Lucius was gripping her elbow, dragging her towards a sofa and sitting her down.
"I tried to come to the house earlier, but it's not there any more, Bellatrix."
"Where do you think I have just come from?" Bellatrix asked, feeling slightly hysterical now. "Of course it's still there, houses don't just vanish!"
"Then he has put some powerful wards in place should this happen," Lucius replied. "So he must have known it was a possibility."
"No!" Bellatrix cried, jumping up. "No, no, no!" The thought of him being dead was excruciating, she had not thought it possible until now. If everything Lucius said was true then… She turned back to him, taking a deep breath. "I will see for myself."
She turned away from him and tried to apparate to her bedroom, but there was some invisible barrier stopping her from doing so. Lucius was right, it was like she was trying to apparate to somewhere that didn't exist.
Then the tears came, hard and fast. Why was this happening? How could her Tom be dead and gone when she knew he had created so many Horcrux? How had a Potter, a stupid Gryffindor done this to her husband? She found herself on her knees, sobbing into the carpet. Then there was some sort of commotion, a baby crying, cool hands on her and then something being forced down her throat. And then she could only see black.
Bellatrix awoke in a darkened room, her head pounding and her mouth dry. She groaned, sitting up slowly before remembering where she was and why she was there.
"Bellatrix," a soft voice called, and then a cool hand was on her forehead.
"Cissa?" Bellatrix mumbled. "Why didn't you kill me?"
Narcissa tutted, sitting down next to her on the bed.
"Where is Draco?"
"Lucius has him," Narcissa responded softly. "I know what's happened… I'm so sorry…"
Bellatrix shrugged. "There's nothing to be sorry for. You don't have him hidden somewhere."
Narcissa bit her lip. "I don't think he is hiding, Bellatrix. I know about the marks, I know what everyone is saying…"
"You didn't know him like I did!" Bellatrix retorted angrily. "He isn't dead."
Recoiling slightly, Narcissa forced a smile to her face. "You should rest."
"I should go out looking," Bellatrix bit back, lifting the covers and stepping from the bed. Her legs were too shaky for her to balance on them, and she found she couldn't stand up. She flopped back down.
"Rest," Narcissa said, adding what Bellatrix assumed was meant to be a comforting squeeze of her hand. Then her sister left the room, closing the door behind her.
Bellatrix sighed. She was still unable to believe what had happened. She couldn't imagine her life without him; she was not strong enough to live without him. That thought made her stomach roll, and suddenly she was aware that she was vomiting all over the carpet. Gasping, she pulled back when it was all over, using her wand to clean up the mess.
She lay back down, feeling awful. She had no idea what was making her feel so ill, she didn't think Narcissa had given her anything but a calming draught. That shouldn't make anyone feel this ill.
Then she remembered something in one of her potions textbooks. She wasn't sure why it came to her head, it just did, suddenly. Something about calming draughts making women vomit if they were…
Bellatrix raised her wand, casting a silent spell and then looking down at her stomach, firstly sceptically and then in shock. Her stomach was glowing.
She was pregnant.