Lucius and Narcissa had decided that she could no longer stay with them. She was, apparently, a danger to the wellbeing of their son. Their house was, apparently, the first place the authorities would come looking for her. And Bellatrix knew she had to accept that Draco was their priority. She understood that feeling; the baby in her tummy was quickly becoming her number one priority too.
So now she was back at her parents house. Her bedroom in the attic had once felt fun and private, but now it felt like a prison. The worst thing was that she knew her mother was planning something, but she had no idea what. That scared her. Druella seemed pleased that this misfortune had become her daughter, probably because of how much she had grown to dislike the Dark Lord. Bellatrix hated her mother more than anyone.
Bellatrix sat, staring out of the window into the garden. The tears had stopped. She couldn't cry any more. She had spent over a week in constant floods of tears. It didn't help that her horrible mother had stolen her wand whilst she was sleeping.
He wasn't dead. He couldn't be. He was immortal. She had his Horcrux. Lucius had one, though she would never tell him what it was. She didn't trust him, especially when she was weakened by not having a wand.
She glanced down at her forearm hopefully. The mark was still invisible. She couldn't even feel the magic tingling as she used to be able to. She felt so lonely without him. The only thing that was keeping her going was the new life inside of her.
She touched her stomach. Was there really a baby inside of her? Was he or she going to be born fatherless? She knew this must be her secret, for a while, until she knew where she was going to go, if she ever escaped from here.
The door behind her opened. Bellatrix turned to look, dropping her hand from her tummy, and instantly turned back to the window when she saw it was her mother, standing in the doorway coldly.
"Bellatrix," she said. Expressionlessly, Bellatrix turned back to her mother, standing up, her chin raised defiantly. "I knew this would happen," she continued, a cool smile on her lips. "It is for the best."
"How is it for the best?" Bellatrix asked her sharply.
"Your father is a foolish man," Druella told her eldest daughter. "We have no money left. He has made a terrible mistake, and soon we will have to sell the house. With Andromeda gone, we had no daughters left to marry, and no money to receive."
"Narcissa is married into the richest family in the wizarding world," Bellatrix said, frowning. She was concerned.
"We have had enough from the Malfoys," Druella replied smoothly. "Your husband is dead."
"He isn't," Bellatrix responded quickly. "He's not dead."
"Where is he then?" Druella taunted cruelly. "He's abandoned you."
A loud bang sounded through the room. Bellatrix had wandlessly tried to curse her mother, but Druella was quick and deflected it with her wand.
"I can't access my husbands money," Bellatrix told her mother softly. "Or else I would help you."
Druella shrugged, walking further into the room. "That's not what the plan is," she said.
"Plan?" Bellatrix asked sharply.
"Did he ever tell you about the contract he signed with your father?" Druella said coolly, ignoring the question.
"Of course," Bellatrix retorted, standing up, facing her mother.
"Then you'll remember that part of that contract stated that you would be returned to us if he died," Druella said, smirking. "To be remarried."
"I'm not getting remarried, my husband isn't dead," Bellatrix said quickly. She wished she had her wand more than anything, so that she could kill Druella right here and now. Why had she never mastered a killing spell without a wand?
"He's dead to everyone else," Druella told her.
Bellatrix remained silent. Surely, surely this wasn't going to happen.
"We've set the date. You will be married on Wednesday."
With a gasp, Bellatrix stepped forwards. "Two days from now?"
"Yes," Druella confirmed, gleefully. "Your new husband has paid a substantial amount to have you, more than Malfoy paid for your sister."
Bellatrix felt faint. She sat back down, clutching the chair as the room span around her, black spots appeared before her eyes. As Druella left the room, Bellatrix managed to cry out the word "Who?" even though she knew for definite exactly who would have paid a fortune for her.
Druella turned back. "Rodolphus Lestrange," she said triumphantly, before she shut the door behind her, locking it once more with a loud click.
Instantly, Bellatrix looked back to her tummy. She couldn't tell anyone about this pregnancy. Perhaps, if she married Rodolphus, she could keep her baby, in secrecy? No one would know it wasn't Rodolphus's. She could say she conceived on their first night together. She could pretend she loved him. She was only a few weeks pregnant; surely no one would notice that short amount of time? Maybe she could tell Rodolphus it wasn't his. He could cover for her. Rodolphus was in love with her, even though she hated him, he loved her. Surely he would do anything for her.
But what if, what if Voldemort did come back. He would never forgive her if she married someone else. He would kill her. The Dark Lord was not one to share. He would never take her back. Was this really the only way to keep her baby safe?
Bellatrix passed out.
The door unlocked by itself a while later. Bellatrix stirred, hearing it click, realising this meant it was dinnertime. As loath as she was to join her parents, her baby would need nutrition to survive. Motherhood was about making sacrifices.
She stood, feeling a wave of nausea pass over her. It stopped after a while, and slowly she left the bedroom, walking down the stairs and into the dining room.
Ignoring both her parents, Bellatrix sat down, and began to eat.
The silence thickened. Neither of her parents were eating. Druella was staring at her triumphantly, and Cygnus looked sad. It was clear Druella was very much in charge of proceedings now that Cygnus had lost them their fortune.
"I'm not marrying him," Bellatrix said flatly.
"Don't then," Druella said. "But if you don't, then you will not live here. You can't get into your castle, Lucius will not have you at his home, the rest of the family will not want anything to do with you if you refuse to marry. Your Death Eater friends are scattering, they will not want to keep a criminal such as yourself in their home. Your options are extremely limited." Druella paused, sipping her wine. "As far as I can see, you can marry Rodolphus and live with him, or you can live on the streets like a common muggle."
"Rodolphus hits his girlfriends," Bellatrix said flatly. "He'll hit his wife."
"Don't tell me that your former husband never hurt you," said Druella sharply. "You should be used to it."
Bellatrix slammed her knife and fork down.
"Druella..." Cygnus said wearily. "This is unnecessary."
"It's not," Druella replied. "She has to marry him otherwise we are lost. We will loose this house." She leant forwards. "This house has been in your family since Phineas Nigellus in the eighteen hundreds. Do you really want to be the one that lost it?"
Cygnus was silent, defeated. He hung his head.
Bellatrix hated her mother.
"You will marry him," Druella told her. "I will not let the name Black, and the name Rosier, become nothing. Narcissa will be your bridesmaid."
Narrowing her eyes, Bellatrix finished the last of her vegetables, before standing up and exiting the room. She knew her choices were limited. Her only hope was that Voldemort came back before Wednesday, or if it took longer than that, he would forgive her, and realise that she had been forced to marry Rodolphus, so that she could raise their child in the way the befitted the Dark Lord's baby.
It was Wednesday. The Dark Lord still hadn't returned.
She was in her bedroom, in a wedding dress. It was beautiful. She looked beautiful, but she couldn't smile. Her eyes looked dead. She wished she was dead.
White silk clung to her figure. Her hair was pinned up, a large veil covering falling down her back, turning into a long train. It didn't feel like a wedding dress.
All of her lovely dresses and robes were at the manor. She would go back there, soon, and try once more to gain access. Voldemort's spells were brilliant, too brilliant. Even she couldn't break through.
Narcissa entered the room. "It's time," she said quietly.
Bellatrix turned, and embraced her sister. "How many guests are there?"
Narcissa swallowed. "Almost three hundred. More than at my wedding."
Bellatrix nodded. "I'm not going to smile."
Pulling her closer, Narcissa squeezed her sister tightly. "You're so brave," she murmured. "If this was me... If Lucius was dead..."
"My husband is not dead," Bellatrix said, and she felt sure this was at least the hundredth time she had spoken those words in the last few weeks.
Narcissa fell back, silenced. "Do you really believe that?" she asked.
"Yes," Bellatrix said in determination. "And I mean to find him, just as soon as I get this stupid wedding over with."
She reached out and took her bouquet from Narcissa's hands. There were pale pink flowers in it. "Does mother really think pink is my colour?" she hissed, incensed. Her mother was the biggest bitch she had ever met in her life. She hated her. "I am going to kill her. And I am going to enjoy it."
Inhaling deeply, Bellatrix stormed out of the room, hearing Narcissa running after her in an attempt to keep up.
Outside of the ballroom, her father was waiting, alone. He looked nervous.
"Why have I got pink flowers?" Bellatrix snarled at him. "Does she want to ruin my life even more?"
Cygnus frowned. "Why do the flowers matter?" he asked. "Why is that your biggest concern?"
"Because," Bellatrix told him, "She's taken over my life. Nothing about this wedding is how I wanted it to be. Not even my new, fake husband. Not even my bloody flowers."
Cygnus sighed, before taking her arm in his. "No one likes this."
"She does," Bellatrix retorted.
"Your mother has finally shown her true colours," Cygnus agreed. "But you need to make the best of this situation."
The doors ahead of her opened. Bellatrix could see Rodolphus, standing with his back to her. Rabastan and Lucius were stood next to him. Traitors, Bellatrix thought. All of them.
"Now for Merlin's sake, smile," Cygnus whispered at her as they began to walk down the isle.
As Bellatrix reached Rodolphus, she could see he was smiling at her. Perhaps Druella had told him she wanted to marry him. She didn't look at him. She refused to.
The ceremony was boring, just like her sisters had been. Her first wedding had been so beautiful, so special, their vows were their own and Voldemort had meant every word he said to her. Now, she knew, she was going to be subjected to a life of beatings.
Voldemort hadn't exactly been the perfect husband. He would often hurt her, whenever she angered him. But he was the Dark Lord; she knew what she had got herself into. She knew exactly who she had fallen in love with. It didn't matter that he was sometimes violent, because he was so caring. He always showed remorse after. And he was the Dark Lord.
Out of the corner of her eye, Bellatrix could see Narcissa shooting Lucius looks of concern. To his credit, Lucius didn't look entirely comfortable. Bellatrix glanced at him, and as he looked back she could see how he had aged in the last month.
Apart from her lack of smile, Bellatrix was the perfect bride. She spoke her vows clearly; she placed the ring on Rodolphus's finger and allowed him to do the same back. Her other wedding ring was placed on her other hand, just for now. As soon as today was over, Rodolphus's ring would be coming off and Voldemort's would be going back.
As the man conducting the ceremony moved onto the magical bit, Bellatrix and Rodolphus held their hands out for his wand to touch. Voldemort had done this bit himself, and Bellatrix remembered how warm the magic made her feel. As Rodolphus and Bellatrix touched hands, a spark of pain shot through her hand.
His eyes widened as he looked at Bellatrix, who merely raised an eyebrow at him, a cool smirk reaching her features.
This only proved that Voldemort was alive. If he had been dead, if their own magical connection was severed, then she would have felt the warmth with Rodolphus, even if she hated him.
"I now pronounce you man and wife," the man called out.
Rodolphus bent forwards, and pressed a light kiss against her cheek. Bellatrix turned her head away.
The people gathered began to clap as they made their way back down the isle, but Bellatrix still refused to smile. As they left the room, and mounted the stairs, Rodolphus finally spoke.
"He's not dead, is he," he said.
"Nope," Bellatrix replied smugly. "And when he does come back, you'll be top of his list, just after my mother."
"She said you wanted to marry me."
Bellatrix laughed. "Seriously? After being married to the Dark Lord? Are you so self loving?"
Rodolphus lead her into one of the sitting rooms, and shut the door. "You can have your wand back," he said, passing it to her.
Bellatrix took it, sitting down. She looked up at him. "So what now?"
With a shrug, Rodolphus turned away, looking out of the window. "I've got what I always wanted, but it doesn't feel as good as I thought it would."
"You and your brother have a terrible reputation," Bellatrix said quietly. "Are you going to hit me?"
Rodolphus looked back to her. "Only if you're a bitch," he told her. "Respect me, and we'll be just fine."
Bellatrix scowled. "What makes you think you can over power me?" she asked him.
"I've seen first hand how amazing you are," said Rodolphus coolly. "But we're married, and a wife always submits to her husband eventually, no matter how long it takes."
With a smile, Bellatrix stood up, turning to him. "Rodolphus. I am not going to rest until I find my husband. You can aid me if you like, I would appreciate your help."
"I would rather die," Rodolphus told her.
Shrugging, Bellatrix turned and looked out of the window. "Thought so," she said. "When he does come back, though, he's not going to be happy with you. Who knows, he may even spare your life if I ask him nicely and if you've played a part in aiding his return."
Rodolphus stared at her in contemplation.
"Alright," he said finally. "I will help you."
Bellatrix grinned. "Good," she said smoothly. "There's one other thing I should tell you as well." She rested her hand on her stomach. "I am pregnant."
Rodolphus continued to stare at her, and he didn't look happy.
"I've just spent an absolute fortune buying you," he snapped. "And I'm just going to loose you again."
"Yes, but if you help me, then the Dark Lord will reward you. Re-compensate you." She smiled sweetly. "I do hope you have a lot of money left over, my wardrobe tends to be quite expensive. The Dark Lord used to give me a thousand galleons a month."
Rodolphus's jaw dropped. "Clearly he had more money then sense," he told her. "You'll get what you're given."
Bellatrix smirked. "Hope you have enough money to furnish a nursery then."
"I wouldn't worry," Rodolphus told her, grabbing her arm and leading her out of the room. "My house already has one."
Rodolphus led her down the stairs, and into the room where the guests were waiting for them. A plan began to formulate in Bellatrix's head as she sat down for the meal, not speaking to anyone around her. This was going to require a lot of thought.
"How many of our old friends are left?" Bellatrix asked Lucius.
They were at Rodolphus's house. It was a manor, not as lovely as her own, but it was alright. The rooms were all very dark and masculine, definitely in need of a woman's touch just as the Dark Lord's had been before she had lived there. Not that she was interested in altering this place too much; she didn't intend to live there for long.
She had removed her veil and taken her hair down, and was pacing around the dark parlour thoughtfully in her wedding dress.
"Many have fled," Lucius told her quietly. Narcissa was sat next to him, her face white and anxious. Druella was babysitting tonight. Rodolphus was sitting down in the armchair, a large glass of firewhiskey in his hand.
"They should die," Bellatrix hissed angrily. Behind her, Barty was watching her every move.
Rodolphus didn't like wine. That irritated her. That would certainly have to change, after the baby was born. She stopped walking, pressing her hand against her stomach as she felt a slight pain shooting through her. It stopped just as soon as it came. Rodolphus was watching her through narrowed eyes; he must have seen her expression of pain. The fact he didn't move only confirmed the fact he didn't care now.
"There are the four of us here," Lucius continued, beckoning to Rodolphus, Barty, Bellatrix and to himself. "Crabbe, Goyle. Dolohov."
"My brother," Rodolphus cut in.
"Travers," Lucius continued. "Rookwood, he spoke to me earlier today. He's going to continue at the Ministry. Moonler, of course, but I don't imagine he will last long."
"Mulciber," Barty added.
"Avery," Lucius said softly.
"Is that all?" Bellatrix asked in surprise.
"Snape will retain his position at Hogwarts," said Lucius quietly. "The rat is dead. Sirius Black is in prison."
Bellatrix looked shocked. "Sirius is in prison?" she asked.
"He killed Pettigrew. Along with thirteen other muggles," Rodolphus said, standing up and walking towards her. "Bellatrix, what if the Dark Lord is not coming back."
"I know things that leave me with no other option but to believe he will come back," Bellatrix said, looking at him.
"We could have a wonderful life together," Rodolphus murmured, drawing her away from the others in the room. "I would love you."
Bellatrix didn't reply, she merely stared at him.
"We could leave England, and go to France, where we could start over. Just me and you."
"And my baby?" Bellatrix asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
Rodolphus swallowed. "Yes. And we could have more. We could start a family."
Bellatrix laughed. "I prefer the idea of world domination, actually," she told him, pulling away from his grasp and moving back towards Lucius and Barty and her sister.
"I'll sleep on this. I need to think."
Barty looked slightly put out. "Why are you taking leadership of this, Bellatrix?" he asked, standing up, drawing out his wand.
Lucius stood up as well, stepping between them. "Bellatrix is our leader now," he told Barty firmly. "That is how the Dark Lord has always intended things to be. She has always been second to the Dark Lord. He trained her. She thinks like him."
Bellatrix smiled slowly. "And don't you forget that," she told Barty. "Your ambition exceeds you. You could never replace me, none of you could."
Barty scowled at her, before he stood up and stormed out of the room.
"Don't go upsetting everyone, Bellatrix, we are the minority at the moment after all," Lucius told her. "Come, Narcissa, let us leave the newly weds to acquaint themselves with each other."
Narcissa stood, hesitating slightly. "Will you be alright?" she asked Bellatrix, who nodded.
"I shall visit," Bellatrix told her, hugging her briefly before the Malfoy's left.
Bellatrix turned to look at Rodolphus.
"Our marriage needs to be consummated," Rodolphus told her, looking at her hungrily.
"What marriage?" Bellatrix asked, removing the ring he had given her and handing it back. Rodolphus didn't accept it, so she dropped it to the floor. She placed the large diamond back on her wedding finger, smiling down at it. "My name is now officially Bellatrix Lestrange. You felt the magic. That is the furthest our marriage goes."
Rodolphus took out his wand, pointing it at her.
"Baby," she hissed at him, touching her stomach protectively.
"Not my baby, why should I care?" Rodolphus sneered at her.
"You will, when the Dark Lord comes back." Bellatrix paused, eyeing him maliciously. "He once told me about a spell he'd discovered. It paralyses the victim, slowly eating their flesh. It lasts a month. Eventually, they die." She smiled. "He said he's never hated someone enough to use it on them."
Rodolphus lowered his wand, storming towards the door. "Find yourself a guest room," he hissed at her. "I shall get you some robes to wear tomorrow. I advise you to lock the door in case I decide to come and kill you in the night."
As he slammed the door, Bellatrix laughed loudly. She stopped soon after, gasping sharply as a pain hit her stomach. Bending over the arm of the sofa, she grabbed her stomach, crying out in agony as spasms racked her body.
Was this the end?