Through the bedroom door, she saw him enter the sitting room. "Tom!" she called out, barely thinking. He instantly stopped walking, and as Bellatrix walked into the room she realised that Lucius was with him. Lucius was looking straight at her, a frown on his features – which told her that he had heard.
Quick as a flash, Voldemort had turned back to Lucius. "Obliviate!" he said, his tone wavering slightly which told Bellatrix that she was in a lot of trouble, if he was loosing control.
A look of confusion appeared on Lucius's face, his eyes narrowed as he tried to work out what had just happened. "Oh, get out, Malfoy," Voldemort snapped impatiently. Hurriedly, although still very confused, Lucius bowed and left the room.
Before the door was even shut Voldemort had backhanded her across the face. She gasped, turning away from him.
"Are you stupid?" he asked her, his voice cold.
"I didn't realise… My Lord…" she turned back around. Her cheek felt like it was on fire. "My apologies," she breathed. He smacked her face again, but this time it wasn't as hard and she couldn't help it… It made her wet for him. She inhaled sharply, looking up at him.
He slapped her twice more, but she could see his anger was turning into amusement at her reaction. Neither hurt at all, he knew very well what he was doing. Her stomach was somersaulting.
Suddenly he had grabbed the back of her neck and was forcing her forwards to him. Then their lips met and Bellatrix found herself moaning his name into his lips, gripping onto the back of his neck for dear life. Now her entire body was on fire.
She let go of his neck, instead grabbing a handful of his robes and drawing him back towards their bedroom, still kissing him as much as she could. Her stomach was still flipping in arousal and excitement. She let go of his robes as she felt the bed bumping against the back of her legs, breaking the kiss for a moment to look up at him. His eyes were burning with desire for her.
"I am not keeping you from your work tonight, my Lord?" she asked, her tone innocent and a coy smile on her face.
He responded by throwing her backwards onto the bed, and Bellatrix gasped at the power he had. "Take off your dress," he murmured, slowly circling the bed like a predator.
Bellatrix sat up, ripping off her long black dress and throwing it onto the floor. She was particularly grateful for the new underwear she'd bought recently, because it fitted her better.
"And the rest." He was staring at her, leaning heavily on the post of their bed. Swallowing nervously, Bellatrix did as she was told and then crawled fully onto the bed, laying back. Slowly, Voldemort knelt on the bed next to her, running his fingers over her stomach. "Do you know," he began slowly, "How hard you make me?"
Bellatrix swallowed, although she wasn't nervous now. "No, my Lord," she replied. He lifted her hand and placed it on his crotch. Bellatrix could feel his length inside of his robes and she felt a surge of liquid pool between her legs.
"Imagine… What it is like for me, Bellatrix… Trying to win a war with this."
"I hope I have not caused you difficulties, my Lord," Bellatrix replied, grinning at him.
"Why do I not believe you?" he asked softly, but there was a hint of a smile on his face. He shifted so that he was straddling her. Then he slowly began to remove his robe, smirking down at her as he did so. His robes pooled to the floor and he moved so that he was straddling her chest now. "Make me believe you, Bella."
Bellatrix sat up in bed with a gasp, breathing heavily. That had been such a vivid dream, and she could feel the arousal very realistically now. Part of her wondered if she should go and find her husband and make this dream come true. Her body was telling her that was a brilliant idea, but her head was saying not to. She didn't know if she could trust him still. Then she contemplated the muggle device in the drawer just beside her but that felt just as wrong. She shouldn't be taking any pleasure over him.
Feeling shaken, Bellatrix lay back down and shut her eyes. There was to be a big meeting tomorrow, and for some reason she was feeling particularly nervous about it. She wanted to be well rested and alert.
Bellatrix sat in the meeting, next to Narcissa, feeling very emotional. Charity Burbage was currently being eaten by Nagini and Bellatrix wished that he would let them all go so that she could go home and have a good cry. She'd caught a few people staring at her already. To be so publically humiliated by her own husband was the worst thing that had happened to her. Ever. And now everyone else could see how far down she had come.
Very suddenly, Voldemort stood up. His gaze lingered on Lucius for a moment, before he turned and left the room. Everyone began to stand up, and Bellatrix knew that this was her chance to escape. She disapparated without so much as a goodbye, knowing that her emotions were going to escape soon. As she apparated back home, there was a pop behind her. She stopped, turning around nervously. It was Antonin.
Seeing her face, he walked quickly over to her and put his arms around her. "Are you ok?" he asked. Bellatrix shook her head, dissolving into tears at his question and kindness. "Is there somewhere we can go?"
Bellatrix nodded, leading him up the stairs to her sitting room, trying to fight the tears but failing. They sat down on the sofa and Antonin put his arms around her, drawing her closer. Bellatrix rested her head on his shoulder, trying to get a grip on herself in between hiccupping, crying and coughing.
"It's ok to cry," he told her softly.
"He's so cruel," Bellatrix whispered back, unable to believe even now what he'd said. "I have done nothing to… de – deserve this." Bellatrix could feel Antonin nodding.
"I think you were so brave in there," he said after a moment. "I couldn't even see any sign of hurt on your face." He pressed a kiss on the top of her head. "I didn't think you were upset."
Bellatrix shook her head, pulling back to look at him. "I have good training, I suppose, although I'm not as good as Narcissa."
Antonin was shaking his head again. "Narcissa does not hide her true feelings so well at the moment."
"True," Bellatrix replied, hiccupping again. "I think she might have broken." She jumped as the door behind them opened, and panic set in as she saw it was him coming through the door. She looked at Antonin, who seemed to have already accepted his fate with a causal shrug, realising what danger she had put him in by bringing him here.
Voldemort was glaring at both of them. "Just how much have you told him?" he hissed at her, moving forwards and grabbing her roughly by the wrist and pulling her up so that she was standing.
"He knows I am married to a heartless bastard," Bellatrix snarled at him, wrenching her wrist away from his hand.
"You cannot bring people back to my rooms unannounced, Bellatrix," Voldemort told her, his voice cold.
"Your rooms?" Bellatrix asked, narrowing her eyes at him. "Yours?"
"None of this belongs to you," Voldemort said sharply.
Bellatrix stared at him for a long moment, before withdrawing her gaze. She looked back to Antonin who looked extremely uncomfortable and nervous. "Come, Antonin," she murmured, taking hold of his hand and pulling him up. She looked at Voldemort. "This is a personal matter, and I hope you will remember that," she said, gesturing slightly to Antonin. She didn't want him killed; that would destroy her. "For once."
Voldemort turned away, moving towards the window and ignoring her.
"Come on," she murmured, pulling Antonin out from the room. When the door was safely shut behind them, she dragged him quickly into the hall and towards his room.
"You can't keep speaking to him like that," Antonin said, his voice flat.
"Yes I can," Bellatrix responded, slightly breathless. "He needs me, no one else wants to fuck him whilst he looks like that."
Antonin stopped outside of his room, shaking his head at her. "He needs you perhaps, but there are others around you who he does not need. Your sister…" He turned and opened the door, but his words hung in the air around her and she stumbled slightly. He meant himself.
Bellatrix crossed the threshold and shut the door. "He wouldn't kill you," she said bluntly. "He knows I would never look at him again."
Antonin sat on his bed. "All the same, I'd rather that not happen again. No one likes to witness a suicide attempt."
Smirking at him now, Bellatrix sat down next to him. "One time, he annoyed me so much I threw a hairbrush at his head."
Antonin turned his head to look at her sharply. "Don't believe you."
Bellatrix laughed. "I did!"
"Did you hit him?"
Bellatrix shook her head. "Do you think I'd be sitting here right now if I did?"
Antonin shrugged. "I remember he used to look at you with such desire, whenever he set eyes on you. So yes, I do."
"And I slapped him." She smiled. "Ooh, and there was the time I put the cruciatus on him!"
"Is this pre or post Azkaban?" Antonin asked, rolling his eyes. "Because of it was pre…"
"I've always been a bit mad, obviously," Bellatrix said, smiling slightly.
"What's all this about the wands?" Antonin asked after a moment. "Is that why he made us kidnap Ollivander?"
Bellatrix shrugged. "Your guess is a good as mine," she said softly. She felt her dark mark burn and she grimaced. "Did your mark just burn?" she asked Antonin. He shook his head.
"You'd better go."
"Why, so he can insult me again?"
Antonin grabbed her wrist. "Please, Bellatrix…" For a moment, Antonin reminded her of Evan, pleading with her not to anger the Dark Lord. She didn't think she could say no, realising that.
"I'll go," she said softly, nodding. "See you later."
As she reached the sitting room once more, she could see he hadn't moved from the window in the last twenty minutes since she'd left.
"Come here," he said, his voice soft.
Scowling, Bellatrix did as she was told. She didn't want to anger him again.
"I have decided to take the advice of Severus," he said quietly, still not looking at her. Bellatrix remained silent, she knew he would. Snape was very persuasive. "We shall await the removal of Potter, when Severus suggests. The Ministry are blind to such goings on, it will be the Order that take him away from those muggles." He tilted his head to look at her. "I will kill Potter. The Ministry will fall into my hands."
Bellatrix nodded. "And Hogwarts?"
"Hogwarts is mine." There was a pause, and he turned himself fully to face her now. "I have asked Severus to take over as Headmaster."
Bellatrix looked at him sharply. "Snape? Headmaster?" she asked, her voice surprised. "I thought… Carrow…"
"Why would I chose either Carrow over Severus, with his wealth of experience?" Voldemort replied, his voice still soft. "I would be a fool, Bella."
Bellatrix hated that Snape was now in such an elevation position, and she hated that she didn't trust him. Her feeling for the man had improved since Draco had failed, and she remembered noticing just earlier during the meeting that he hadn't laughed at her misfortune and humiliation. But she still could not trust him, because he had been so in love with Potter's own mother. She didn't see how he could really want Potter dead.
"Of course," she mumbled, stepping away from him and sitting down.
"I hear the children from the other houses hate Snape," Voldemort continued. Bellatrix struggled not to laugh at that. "Fear him, even."
"Surely the decision over who takes over from Dumbledore lies with the Ministry," Bellatrix said after a moment.
"Yaxley assures me they will choose Snape," Voldemort replied.
"And what is the plan to kill Potter?" Bellatrix asked, trying to change the subject from Snape.
"We will wait in the area. They will not be able to use apparation, floo is never a safe option. I think they will fly." He turned and sat next to her. "Snape tells me that Moody is leading on many of their outings."
"Moody?" Bellatrix asked sharply. Her thoughts turned once again to Evan, she missed him so much and she still had to avenge his death. "I want to come."
Voldemort shook his head. "No," he said, his voice harder. He gripped her hand tightly. "No, Bella. It will be cold, I will not risk your health."
"I have to kill Moody, what if this is my only chance?"
"Would Evan have wanted you to disobey me?" Voldemort asked her, his voice challenging.
Bellatrix faltered. "No but… I didn't always listen to him- "
"Then listen to me now," Voldemort snapped, looking into her eyes. "Stay here. I am asking you to stay here."
Bellatrix was slightly taken aback by his words. He never asked her to do anything. He told her what to do. She couldn't deny him this.
"I will stay here, if that's what you want," she replied softly. "Of course."
He reached forward and placed a hand on her cheek. Bellatrix flinched at the gesture. She wasn't sure she could forgive him for what he had said and done earlier. Noticing, he pulled back.
"You are part of my family, no matter who you are," Bellatrix said, feeling her voice tremble. "And you know I have never had anything to do with any offspring of Andromeda's."
Voldemort shrugged slightly. "I said it to humiliate the Malfoy's. In case you have forgotten, Bellatrix, they have failed me twice within a year."
Bellatrix shook her head. "You may do what you like with Lucius," she snapped back at him. "Leave Narcissa and Draco out of it. Lucius is the one that signed up to this life, not them."
"Perhaps you are right," Voldemort murmured. "But this life, as you call it, is the right way, is it not? After all, someone must take responsibility for the saving of our race and our ways of life. Narcissa is just as important in that task as you are, and as Lucius is. She is the link between two of the most powerful and influential houses."
"And who are you to speak badly of us, anyway? Our names are recorded in the Pure Blood Directory," Bellatrix retorted, suddenly angry at him. "Do you even know what that is? I'll tell you!" she raged. "It's a book of the twenty-eight real pureblood families in this country. You have no right to lecture me on responsibility! It's because of you that the Black name is dead. And the worst thing is -you're a halfblood." As soon as the words came out of her mouth, Bellatrix clapped her hands over her mouth. She couldn't believe she had said it outright to him.
Slowly, too slowly, Voldemort stood up, moving away from her. "I am going to pretend that I did not hear that," he said, his voice silky smooth.
Hands shaking, Bellatrix stood up too, pulling her wand out just in case. "But I'm not wrong, am I?" she said. "Riddle… That's not one of those twenty-eight names."
"No," Voldemort replied, his voice quiet.
"And your mother's name?" Bellatrix asked.
Voldemort turned back to face her. Then he smiled. "Gaunt."
Bellatrix gasped. There was a famous name, the last descendants from Salazar Slytherin himself. "Your mother was… a Gaunt? Why on earth did she… With a muggle!"
"In case you hadn't noticed, Bellatrix, my mother is dead," Voldemort snarled. "She died, as you well know, on the same day that I was born. I would ask you to speak about her with some respect."
Bellatrix's head was spinning. She sat back down. She didn't realise that Voldemort actually deserved the house they lived in through his ancestry. He must have somehow claimed it.
"Never doubt my abilities, Bella," he murmured.
She slowly looked back up to him, her face in shock. "I don't believe it."
Voldemort sat down as well. "So there you have it. The absolute truth about your darling husband, finally."
"A muggle, as you've pointed out," Voldemort said coolly. "I killed him and his family, as you know. They owned a large estate in the very village in which I was reborn. I used their house to hide and gather strength just before I was reborn. I took all of their money and it now lies in my vault."
"So you've… Everything has been funded by muggle money?" Bellatrix asked, feeling a little bit flabbergasted.
"Anything personal," Voldemort said, nodding. "Lucius has funded most of it. Your father helped, as have many others.
"All my clothes… Funded by muggles?" Bellatrix whispered.
Voldemort snorted. "Yes." He looked at her carefully for a moment. "It is my wish to restore the Gaunt name. I am the failing of the Gaunt family, and I hope my actions make up for my bad blood."
Bellatrix stared at him in shock.
"I always knew that in order to do this I would need to marry into one of these twenty-eight families you mention." His face was impassive.
"Yes!" he snapped. "All along, I've been hiding this from you. I need an heir. I need a Gaunt heir. And who better to be the mother of my heir, than the Black heiress?"
Bellatrix shook her head. "I can't. I couldn't before, and I can't now, knowing that you… You have been using me?"
"How have I been using you?" Voldemort all but shouted at her. "I love you, and I would always have married you, even if you'd been born with a different name."
"Is this why you were always hanging around my father?" Bellatrix spat. "So that you could charm me?"
Voldemort shook his head. "You charmed me, Bella. With your beauty and your free spirit. Do you think I intended to chase or fall for a sixteen year old? Do you know the persuading it took, with your father? You were his favourite and he never wanted to sell you to the highest bidder, like your mother wanted to. All he wanted was for someone to love you."
"My father was soft," Bellatrix snapped. "He lost me my fortune."
"He spent it all on you," Voldemort retorted angrily. "He wanted me to succeed because he feared for your life in the end. Seeing you go to prison killed him. You and I - We killed him. Not some illness."
Bellatrix could feel tears running down her cheeks. She knew he was right, in everything that he said. On the day of her wedding, her father said to her he wished she could marry for love. She had replied asking why he thought she wasn't. And he had smiled. She didn't recall him saying those words to Narcissa. He said them to her.
"You're right," she mumbled, looking up at him. He took two steps towards her and then put his arms around her.
"I have contemplated… On so many occasions, telling you about my parentage. I have always been scared of your reaction." He pressed a kiss on her hair. "I couldn't live without you," he said, very quietly.
Bellatrix melted into his embrace. "Are there any more secrets?" she asked after a while.
"No," Voldemort replied softly into her ear. "Do you forgive me?"
"I always have," Bellatrix replied softly. She pulled back from him slightly before kissing him gently on the lips. "I always will."
She looked into his eyes, knowing that this wasn't the happy ending she desired, but knowing she was getting much closer to it as time wore on.
Bellatrix was sat in the library, feeling more and more grim as every moment went on. There was no news from any Death Eater, and no news from her husband. She was fearful. They'd been gone for hours now. She was shivering and decided it was probably time to move closer to the fire, after all he didn't want her to go out and get cold so there was little point in staying in and getting cold.
She stood up and lay in front of the fire, stoking it up slightly. She sighed as she felt the warmth caressing her body and found it a bit easier to relax. After a few moments, she could hear a hissing sound behind her. She looked up and realised it was Nagini, and that she had stolen the snake's usual spot.
"Sorry," she said, as the snake came face to face with her. Nagini hissed something and began to coil herself up in front of Bellatrix, resting her head on Bellatrix's arm. "Am I actually cuddling you?" Bellatrix murmured, laughing softly at the ridiculousness of the situation. "What is he going to say when he sees this?"
Nagini hissed something more, and Bellatrix wondered if the snake was telling her to shut up. She put her head back down and closed her eyes.
Some time later there was a noise behind her. She jumped a little, and opened her eyes, but didn't want to move much in case it made Nagini jump and bite her, or something. She tilted her head and saw Voldemort staring down at her with a frown.
"I was cold," she mumbled, very gently sliding Nagini's head off her arm and sitting up. "What happened? Did you kill him?"
Voldemort was silent. He turned away and sat down without speaking for a while. "Lucius's wand failed me. I shall have to try a different tactic." Bellatrix swallowed, unwilling to ask what that could be. "You will be pleased to hear that I killed Moody."
Bellatrix bowed her head slightly, thinking of Evan. She wondered how far out of his way Voldemort had gone to ensure that he did finished Moody, and she desperately hoped that he hadn't missed an opportunity with Potter because of that. For some reason, she didn't like to ask if this was the case.
"Thank you," she mumbled. "If you don't mind… I'm going to go to bed."
Voldemort nodded, although it was clear he was hardly listening.
"Will you be joining me?" she asked, slightly tentatively. He hadn't come anywhere near her since their discussion the other evening, and she wasn't sure why. He had been actively pursuing her before that. She wondered if it was down to pride.
"Perhaps later," he replied. "I have to think… On what my next course of action should be."
Bellatrix nodded back. "Of course. Goodnight, my Lord."
She hesitated for a moment, hoping for a reply, but he was very caught up in his thoughts. She turned and left the room, headed for bed. Perhaps he would come soon.
Something woke Bellatrix later that night. She wasn't sure what it was to begin with. She opened her eyes, staring at the ceiling and breathing fairly heavily. She didn't enjoy the feeling of being jolted suddenly awake. She looked over towards the window, hoping to get a sense of the time from whether there was some light behind them. There was a tiny bit, as if the sun was just making it's way into the sky – behind all of the cloud they had created of course.
Then she looked away from the curtain and to the other side of the bed, and that's when she finally noticed that he was there.
She smiled slightly upon seeing him. His eyes were shut and his breathing was even. His hand was curled into a fist and his cheek was resting lightly on it. Bellatrix realised she had no idea when she had last seen him asleep like this. She hoped that it would get lighter soon, before he woke up, so that she could see him better. Even in this state, he looked beautiful to her.
Bellatrix curled her legs up towards her body, just watching him sleeping so peacefully. The events of the previous day had obviously exhausted him; he had come so close to getting Potter. When he was asleep like this, he didn't look capable of causing anyone any harm at all.
Since she had spoken those words to Lucius – finally realising that she preferred the physical pain he occasionally caused her over the mental turmoil he regularly caused her – she had started to notice it more often. What he said at that meeting, where he knew she could not possibly respond, had been the worst thing he had ever done to her. She couldn't believe she had forgiven him.
He stirred slightly, and Bellatrix held her breath, concerned that the noise might wake him up and ruin her illusion of him. His free arm moved from his side and landed right across her own. Smiling again, Bellatrix clasped his hand lightly in her own, wondering if he was pretending to be asleep or not. Either way, she didn't care. Lying together like this was bliss and she was so grateful for any time she could have with him for this.
"Bella…" he mumbled, and his eyes opened for a moment to look at her. He smiled slightly, before his eyes dropped back to closed and his breathing evened back out. Bellatrix drew herself closer to him, putting the arm around her body before closing her own eyes. He was obviously exhausted, and she thought he should definitely catch up on his sleep now.