They had him! They had Potter! Bellatrix hadn't felt this happy since the fall of the Ministry, just a few months ago. Lucius had summoned the Dark Lord and then she would finally see the end of Potter and his friends. But then things had gone wrong. Lucius had been careless when he dismissed his house elf and he had not adjusted the wards. And somehow, for some unfathomable reason, Potter had befriended said house elf and the creature was now rescuing them all – Their prisoners the Gringotts goblin, Ollivander and the Quibbler girl. All important and powerful bargaining chips.
As she realised what was about to happen, Bellatrix threw the knife she'd used on Potter's mudblood towards them. She watched as the knife she'd just thrown was pulled into the elf's disapparation. She hoped and prayed it had hit Potter, but somehow she didn't think that was likely. The worst thing was, her husband had been summoned. He was on his way and was going to be furious when he found out he was coming back for no reason. Bellatrix was worried he was going to kill someone.
She turned around and saw Narcissa crying into Lucius's robe, and Draco was staring blankly at the spot they had disapparated from.
"Did you definitely summon him?" Bellatrix asked Lucius a short moment later.
Lucius raised his head from Narcissa and nodded, his expression strained. He knew it wasn't going to be a pretty meeting when the Dark Lord finally did get here.
"He's going to be a while," Bellatrix said softly, knowing he was abroad today, searching for Grindelwald and the prison Nurmengard. She had no idea why, but she was wondering if it was something to do with his wand obsession.
The room was silent. Draco moved closer to his parents, his eyes flickering towards the door every other minute. Bellatrix shut her eyes and inhaled some calming breaths; eager to make sure she didn't start coughing the moment she laid eyes on him.
Then she heard it. A quiet pop of apparation from outside, then heavy footsteps ominously thudding and getting louder with every step until finally, he stepped into the room. The Malfoy's shrunk away from him, but Bellatrix found she was unable to move.
His inky black robes settled around him as he stopped moving and he stared at her, ignoring the Malfoy's. "Well?" he hissed. "I do not see Potter. Why have I been summoned?"
Bellatrix cringed slightly, averting her gaze. "My Lord, we captured Potter… We needed to be sure it was him before we called you… As we did he escaped with the help of a house elf, along with your other prisoners." She knew there was no sense in beating around the bush with him. She knew she had to be straightforward and to the point.
"I see," was all he responded, and then there was a long silence as Voldemort paced the floor slowly, his robes trailing after him. Bellatrix's eyes were the only that dared follow his movements; the Malfoy's were looking everywhere but where the Dark Lord was.
Quite suddenly, Voldemort stopped walking, his gaze snapping to Bellatrix in an instant. She shrank back, dropping her sight to the floor. He didn't look away even when she did and she could feel her skin tingling with fear and excitement.
"Who found the boy?" Voldemort asked coldly, still staring directly at his wife.
"Greyback, my Lord," Bellatrix responded, looking up at him from under her eyelashes. His expression wasn't readable. She shivered, averting her eyes once more.
"Greyback." Voldemort sounded surprised. He slowly turned ninety degrees to his left and began pacing back and forth again. "A werewolf."
Bellatrix wasn't sure if it was a question or not, but she thought replying wouldn't be the best idea so she didn't move.
"An uneducated and uncivilised beast."
Out of the corner of her eye, Bellatrix could see Draco fidgeting nervously and Narcissa glaring venomously at him as if trying to silently make him stand still.
"We all know very well what the boy looks like. We have all met him before," Voldemort continued, pacing, not speaking directly to anyone in the room now. "We have all... Seen his picture in the Daily Prophet." He stopped and turned to look at the Malfoy's. "Why, Draco was at school with him for six years."
"His face was swollen from a jinx, my Lord," Bellatrix said quickly. She didn't want to look like a complete fool in front of him. Voldemort looked over at her for a moment, his expression amused. Seeing the look, Bellatrix bowed her head once more. Amusement from him was not conventional amusement. It was very dangerous.
"Swollen?" he inquired mockingly, but Bellatrix didn't dare reply to him. He turned his gaze back to the Malfoy's. Draco wasn't fidgeting now; he was shaking with fear, as was Narcissa. Lucius hadn't moved a muscle since Voldemort had arrived. The Dark Lord's gaze lingered on them for a moment later, his expression still horribly blank, before his eyes moved to his wife once more.
"Why did it take so long for your Master to be summoned?"
Swallowing nervously, Bellatrix spoke again, knowing the others were not going to. "My Lord, we wanted to be sure," she starting, trying to keep her voice level and confident. "I knew how close you would be to getting to Gri-"
"Silence!" Voldemort shouted, his red eyes darkening, calmness vanishing. He stormed towards her, grabbing her by the hair. "Do you think I wish to hear your excuses, Bellatrix?"
"No, my Lord," Bellatrix murmured, her breathing heavy.
"I told you no one was to know what I have been doing," he hissed quietly into her ear. "I trust you have kept the information to yourself?"
"Of course," Bellatrix replied, nodding her head as best she could. "A slip of the tongue..."
"Do not let it happen again." Exhaling, he released his hold on her hair and stalked away from her, moving towards the long windows that overlooked the gardens. "As the boy slips through my fingers once more, I cannot help but to question where the loyalty of the Malfoy's lies."
Bellatrix glanced towards Lucius; he still hadn't moved. Twenty years ago, she would have loved to hear those words coming from her husband's lips. Now, she was terrified for her sister and her nephew.
"Perhaps I am wrong to do so." He turned back and looked to the family. "That remains to be decided." He looked back towards Bellatrix, before extending his hand to her. Eyes wide with surprise, Bellatrix moved towards him, taking his hand. His skin felt so soft, yet very cold, but it was still the physical contact she yearned for after many, many years without.
Jumping slightly, Lucius looked up hastily. "My Lord?" he croaked.
"Consider... Where your loyalties lie," Voldemort hissed, watching Lucius carefully. "Make sure that your decision pleases me, or else I shall be forced to issue you and your... Family... The worst punishment I can think of..."
Without waiting for an answer or acknowledgement, Voldemort turned back to Bellatrix and disapparated them away.
The loud crack of apparation resounded through the empty and echoic hallway of their manor. Bellatrix opened her eyes and realised that they were standing close, facing each other. She looked up, past his thin lips and flat nose, before she stared directly into his burning eyes. Slowly, Bellatrix exhaled, only breaking his gaze when she blinked.
"Are you going to punish me, too?" Bellatrix breathed.
A small smile crept onto Voldemort's face. "No, Bella." His tone was firm and final, and he wrenched his gaze away from hers, pulling his hand away too, before he turned and began to walk up the stairs. Bellatrix bound after him, running to keep up with his long strides. She coughed a little as her enthusiasm stirred some of the dust and even to hear own ears the sound was very unpleasant.
Voldemort stopped dead and turned to her. "Have you been taking your potion?" he snapped.
"When I remember," Bellatrix replied quietly, her voice shaking.
Glaring at her, he turned and continued to walk up the stairs. Bellatrix followed, feeling quite out of breath from running. It wasn't until they reached their sitting room did Bellatrix realise he had led them to their rooms, not to the library. She smiled, watching as Voldemort sat down on the sofa, glad that he seemed to be relaxing. She walked around, standing before him. His eyes opened and he looked up at her. "You need your strength. Sit down."
Bellatrix did as he told her to, sitting down close to him, feeling warmth coming from him even though he was so cold.
"Your body is weak, Bellatrix." He was staring straight ahead of him, unblinkingly. "After years of malnutrition, you are not as you used to be."
Bellatrix glanced over to him, watching his expression and features. He was cold, regal and thoughtful, as she normally thought of him since his rebirth, and yet she still loved him as much as she ever had.
"You must remember to take your potion twice a day," he said suddenly looking at her.
"You know I don't trust Snape," Bellatrix told him bluntly. She felt Voldemort tense.
"I think it's getting worse," she mumbled. "Every time I drink Snape's potion..."
"What are you saying?" Voldemort asked softly, even though he knew.
"I don't trust Snape! He's a traitor."
"He killed Dumbledore, his loyalty is with me."
"He killed Dumbledore because my sister and I made him swear an unbreakable vow to protect Draco!" Bellatrix told him, hoping he wasn't going to get angry.
Voldemort sighed. "Your hatred is blinding you."
Bellatrix crossed her arms to her chest, looking away from him.
"If someone else made your potion, you would drink it?" he asked coolly after a moment.
"I will do it."
Bellatrix gasped, looking back at him. "You?"
"Yes, I," he replied softly. He moved away from her, standing up. "And tonight we will dine," he informed her, pulling his robes straight. He stared at her for a moment, and Bellatrix was sure there was a hint of a smile on his lips. "Until then."
When he was gone, Bellatrix allowed a smile to come to her lips. Dinner with him would be heavenly, and she wondered if tonight might be the night where she felt ready to give herself fully to him, once more. He was, after all, making some effort.
Bellatrix walked into their dinning room. She had many memories from this room; she remembered when she was still at school how they came here to be alone together before she returned to Hogwarts the next day. She remembered the final time, how he told her that he would be away for a few months and that they probably would not see each other until she graduated. She sort of smiled, that memory was a bittersweet one.
She swallowed when she saw he was already in there, sitting, regally, with a glass of wine in his hand. This evening she had made a real effort to make herself look nice for him, none of this halfhearted nonsense that she had recently been doing. She had successfully tamed her hair into a smooth mane with several potions and spells and had even put some make up on by hand. The dress she was wearing still could not hide how thin she had become, but she definitely had put on weight since she had first come out of prison and she hoped that her husband would see that.
As she moved closer to him, he stood up.
"I hope I have not kept you waiting," Bellatrix whispered, quite dazzled by how handsome he looked, even though he looked completely different to his former self.
He suddenly smiled. "You always used to keep me waiting when you were getting ready."
Bellatrix realised that clearly he had been nostalgic that evening before they had met as well. She smiled back. "Yes, I was a vain creature."
Voldemort beckoned her forward. "Please, sit." He pulled the chair out for her and helped her sit in it. "Would you like a drink?"
Bellatrix eyed the wine bottles in front of her. She remembered what happened the last time she drank and she was not eager for a repeat of that. Voldemort seemed to know what she was thinking.
"There's juice too."
Bellatrix shook her head. "I could have one glass," she responded to him. She watched as he poured her a little glass, feeling very excited and pleased that he was treating her like a lady and behaving like an absolute gentleman. He topped up his own glass and sat back down. "Thank you, my Lord," she whispered across the table to him.
He nodded to her and Bellatrix could see that he felt uncomfortable. She needed to do something to remedy that if she was going to get him back for good. She knew that there was no point repeating her previous grievances to him, as it would only irritate him, she needed to be careful and try to please him first. It was difficult, because she also wanted to leave the war out of things as well. They did not have much to speak about.
"I found a most interesting book the other day, by Salazar Slytherin," she began, sticking to an easy topic he would enjoy, as they helped themselves to food. "I am sure you know it. The book details the creation of Hogwarts."
"Oh, yes," Voldemort replied, nodding, sitting back and picking up his knife and fork. "I particularly enjoyed the bit about all of the various enchantments, and that amusing incident with the moving staircases which left Hufflepuff stranded all night."
Bellatrix giggled, feeling like her old self quite suddenly. She wondered if her body was still so weak the one sip of wine she had just had was gone to her head already. "I thought of you as he detailed the Chamber of Secrets."
Voldemort chuckled. "It does seem a shame that no one will return to open the chamber."
Bellatrix's face fell. She wanted nothing more than a child, apart from his love, but was sure it was never going to happen now.
"Oh, Bella," he murmured. Bellatrix looked back to him, sadness in her eyes. His jaw was clenched, but he too looked sort of sad. "What happened to us?"
"Harry Potter is what happened to us," she spat, suddenly fuelled by anger. "I will see him destroyed for this. I lost my chance for that today." She rested her head in her hands, wondering for the umpteenth time how Draco had not recognised the boy sooner.
"We will," Voldemort said quietly.
Bellatrix looked up at him. She was seeing a Voldemort she had not seen for a long time, he was normally hard like ice but tonight he seemed to be melting slightly.
"You seem so sure," she responded.
He smirked. "We would be in trouble indeed if I was not sure." He turned back to his meal. "Do you doubt? Be honest."
Bellatrix laughed. "Your Legilimacy skills are not to be reckoned with, would I lie?" Voldemort shrugged, and for a moment she remembered how he always did that in his old body. Somehow, it didn't seem right in this one. "I would never doubt you."
"Do you fear me?"
Bellatrix almost choked on her vegetables. How should she answer that? He was utterly terrifying, his moods changed constantly and she was in no state, mentally or otherwise, to be worried about what he would do to her if she offended him.
"More than I used to," she settled on, chewing her lip nervously.
Voldemort laughed and Bellatrix felt so relieved that he was in such a good mood. Such a good mood, in fact, she thought she might press him again.
"My Lord... I know..." She stopped and took a sip of her wine. Merlin knew she needed any help she could get. "I know things are different but... I do not want for your line to die out... The line of Slytherin." She glanced up, seeing his face was slightly colder. "I know you do not wish for that either," she said, gently. "I think about our... baby. Every day."
Voldemort nodded. "I think about him too."
Bellatrix hid her smile; he really was very sexist at times. "What do you think about?" she asked him softly.
"Sometimes... I consider how it might have been, being reborn by you and our son. To come back to my body... With your help and to return to find a baby son." He looked up at her. "I know you tried."
"I was so lost, grief struck... Within a month, I had lost so much." Bellatrix heaved a sigh, desperate not to cry in front of him again.
"I do not blame you," Voldemort whispered across the table.
Bellatrix looked back at him, unable to believe that those words had finally left his lips. He didn't blame her. She no longer needed to feel this unbearable, desperate guilt that she had been feeling all of these years. He didn't blame her.
"My Lord," Bellatrix began, after a few moments of silence. "My Lord, our relationship has been so bad, recently... I..." She trailed off, seeing his gaze turning cold once again. The words rattled around in her head, she knew she had to say them, as this was her chance. "We must decide what is to be done."
"Must?" he questioned coolly.
Bellatrix cursed herself for using such strong language with him. He did not take kindly to being told what to do. "Please," she murmured, her eyes pleading. "I fear I am going even more mad."
"The final battle will soon be upon us," he began thoughtfully. "And you are still unwell. We need to gain our advantage and destroy Potter. Then you will rest, properly, until you are back to your previous self."
Bellatrix was about to protest, but he held up his hand to stop her from speaking.
"And then, Bella," he continued, his tone much warmer and softer. "I will do as we were so close to doing before. I will announce you as my wife."
She gasped, staring at him, but completely overjoyed at his words.
"These times are busy and difficult. I know you understand. There is much weighing on my mind, but I shall endeavor to share what I can with you. I cannot commit myself to you as I did before, my first priority is getting us through this trying period."
Bellatrix nodded, bowing her head slightly. His voice was so strong and passionate and Bellatrix knew that her life depended on them winning this war.
He had set down his knife and fork onto his empty plate and was now standing. Bellatrix had long forgotten her meal. She stood up and moved towards him. "Is it enough?" he whispered, his eyes fixed on hers. Bellatrix nodded.
"Just don't... Push me away, Tom," she said, his forbidden name leaving her lips without her real noticing. He flinched slightly, but did not move apart from that. "I am so desperate to help you."
He sighed. "I will try."
His tone was very final. Bellatrix knew she had used her chance to speak to him candidly well and that things would change. Slowly, she moved a bit closer to him. He was eyeing her carefully.
"You look really lovely tonight," he offered softly.
Bellatrix smiled. "So do you."
Voldemort snorted, disbelieving.
"I admit, you are not what you once were," she said; glad that she could be honest. "But you are very distinguished and regal now... Better to have a body than not to."
She had only glanced away from him for a second when he suddenly grabbed her and began to kiss her. She froze, for a few seconds, and then relaxed as she realised it felt right. When he pulled away and she looked up into his eyes, she could see that familiar sparkle of lust in them. "Have you eaten enough?" he asked her sharply, looking over to her plate in scrutiny.
"Yes," she told him. She felt the familiar cough rising in her chest, as it so often did whenever something excited her. She coughed once, it sounded horrible, but after that no more came. She burrowed her head into his soft robes.
"You can rest tomorrow," Voldemort told her. He bent down and picked her up, holding her gently in his arms. "May I accompany you to bed?"
Bellatrix nodded, smiling at him. She could feel desire coursing through her veins. "My cough is getting better," she told him, as he moved them into the sitting room, then to the bedroom. She marveled at how he could still lift her but then again, she didn't weigh very much at all now.
"If you insist," he responded coolly. He placed her on the bed and picked up the lung potion that was on the bedside table. "Drink this and I will make you some more tomorrow."
She screwed up her face in protest but took the potion anyway, knowing it was impossible to argue with him once he had made up his mind. She coughed a few more times, but soon the feeling subsided. Slowly, she stood up, unsure what to do now. Did he mean to stay? Was this the moment?
As if he had heard her question and was responding to it, he cast her a look over his shoulder and began unbuttoning his robe. Bellatrix swallowed, nervous, but quickly removed her dress and her shoes, sliding into bed in her underwear. She was extremely glad it was nice underwear. She averted her gaze as he got into bed, knowing he probably didn't want her to see his body.
"Come here," he murmured.
Slowly, she did as she was told, turning over to look at him properly and shifting much closer. Bellatrix was in heaven. She could feel her eyes tearing up. She couldn't stop the tears from falling onto the pillow.
"Please don't," Voldemort murmured, putting his arm around her. "Bella, the past must remain in the past."
"I know," she responded thickly. "Doesn't mean I can't feel sad about it, Tom."
She meant to use that name this time.
He sighed. "Not tonight." She wondered what he meant, but then as he kissed away her tears she realised he did not want her to be sad tonight. He put his arms around her and squeezed lightly. "I shall stay the night with you, Bella," he murmured.
Bellatrix nodded. "That would be nice."
"I don't need anything more," he said, after a moment.
She could feel the tears coming again. She wanted to trust him, she really did, but there was still something stopping her from feeling like she could go further. "It's so confusing," she blurted out.
"What is?" Voldemort asked her, pressing a kiss on her hair.
"Being your wife," Bellatrix mumbled after a moment.
Voldemort chuckled lightly. "I'm sorry for that."
She snuggled further into him. "I want to trust you."
"There's no rush."
Bellatrix was silent. That was a lie. There was a rush; there was a high chance that they were both living on borrowed time. She knew their chances were slim. But she needed a few more weeks before she could trust him for that and it was time she would have to give herself. She looked up at his face, and she could see his eyes were closed. With a smile, Bellatrix made herself comfortable before shutting her eyes too. Tonight was going to be a different night to what she was used to.
Bellatrix awoke in the middle of the night, unsure what had woken her. She glanced to the other side of the bed and saw it was empty. She was hardly surprised, all of the times she had fallen asleep with him by her side she had always woken and found him gone.
She sat up, rubbing her eyes. It was then that she heard a small sigh, and with a jump she turned and realised Voldemort was still in the room, staring into the long mirror by the window. The moonlight was shining in so he could see himself. Slowly, she slid off the bed, wondering what he was doing. This was most unusual.
"My Lord?" she murmured, standing next to him and looking into the mirror as well so she could see him properly. He didn't seem to see her. He continued to stare at himself. She couldn't read his face; he was completely blank and cool.
"Bella," he murmured a few moments later. His face still didn't change.
Bellatrix shifted closer and slid her arm around him. Finally, his gaze shifted down to meet hers through the glass. A sort of smile appeared on his thin lips as he looked at her. She looked into his red eyes, her stomach lurching as she saw an image of the old him standing before her. When she blinked, it was gone and Voldemort was his reborn self and had looked away again.
"What have I become?" he whispered, back to staring at himself, only this time Bellatrix could see a hint of sadness in his features. She wasn't sure how to answer and her arm around him tightened. This sort of behaviour was unusual but not unheard of and it was not the first time she had seen it.
"You are the most powerful wizard in the world," Bellatrix responded softly. "You have defied death."
"I used to love," Voldemort spoke again quietly. "And yet I was defeated by it."
"What do you mean?" Bellatrix asked, wondering where all of this was suddenly coming from. He was always so strong.
"I mean…" He stopped and an expression of exasperation crossed his features. "I mean that Lily Potter had no reason to die. I did not have a care for her; I only wanted to destroy the child's father and the child himself… Her protection was why…" He stopped talking.
Bellatrix nodded, understanding. "Why the curse rebounded?"
Voldemort nodded in return. "There is a chance that I accidentally created another Horcrux on the night of my demise."
Bellatrix gasped. "Surely not…" She turned away from him, unable to believe what she was hearing. "That would mean… When you kill Potter, you will be destroying part of yourself?"
"Yes," Voldemort said quietly, without emotion. Bellatrix turned back to face him, seeing that he had now turned to her.
"And you have to kill him?" Bellatrix demanded, feeling complete fear inside of her at the thought of loosing her husband for good.
Voldemort sighed in frustration. "How could I not?"
"We could keep him a prisoner…"
"No," Voldemort said firmly. "He is known as the Boy-Who-Lived. I must end that, I must show my power for all to see and destroy him forever."
"You could show your power in a different way… As you already have done…"
"You are weak," Voldemort snapped at her. "You are only concerned that you might loose me. Your love blinds you."
Bellatrix recoiled at his words. "Of course I am concerned I will loose you… Where would any of us be without you, Tom?"
He flinched at the use of his name but didn't say anything about it. "I will not be weakened by this. What is it, to loose just a part of me, when I have the rest here and safe?"
Bellatrix could hardly believe he was talking about his soul as if it were a mere object, which meant nothing to him. She turned away, nibbling at her lip. Predictably, she could feel the cough brewing in her chest. She did her best to swallow it down. It always came when something upset her. "I am scared," she told him.
"Why?" he said coldly.
"You know why," she hissed, turning to face him again. "You… You are my life. I know nothing other than you."
Voldemort slowly moved towards her. "I forget sometimes… You are not like the others."
"I want nothing for myself!" Bellatrix declared passionately. "I am your most loyal."
The Dark Lord threw his half smile at her again and Bellatrix saw he had grown tired of his melancholy. He leant closer and pressed a gentle kiss against her lips. "Back to bed. I know I am weary."
Bellatrix did as she was told; she slid back into the warmth of their bed and was ecstatic when she found his arms about her once more. One more question formed in her mind as she recalled the days' events again.
"Did you reach Grindelwald?" she asked softly.
"Yes," Voldemort responded shortly.
Bellatrix desperately wanted to know if he had found the information he had been seeking but did not dare. He had become even more private than before, even withholding information from her, which he never had done previously. Just as she found herself drifting off again, he spoke.
"I know where I may find the elder wand."
Bellatrix gasped, sitting up. "The elder wand?" she asked, having until now thought that the elder wand was a silly child's tale.
She felt pressure on her hair; he was tugging on it to make her lay back down. She did as beckoned. "Yes, the elder wand… It is no myth, Bella."
"The stone… And cloak… They are real also?" she asked, feeling curious.
"Probably," Voldemort responded. "I have no need for either of those presently." He paused. "Would you like to hazard a guess as to whom has the wand?"
Bellatrix shrugged against him. "Potter?"
"Don't be ridiculous," he snapped. "Dumbledore has it."
"But he is dead," Bellatrix said vaguely, not understanding.
"It is in his tomb with him. And since I ordered his death… The wand must surely belong to me now."
Bellatrix gasped again. "My Lord, you will have such power!"
"I will," he replied softly. "Such power. This wand will defeat Potter."
Bellatrix was silent. The events of today were suddenly explained. He had clearly been searching for this wand for a long time – It certainly explained why Ollivander had been kept prisoner and why he had sought out Gregoravich, both incredible wand makers – and now he had found the answer and was content. He had been obsessed with wands and Bellatrix had thought it simply to be because of the connection of wands he shared with Potter. It was more than that.
"Should I be suspicious of Lucius and his family?" Voldemort asked suddenly.
Bellatrix jumped slightly. Apparently he wished to talk to her about serious matters tonight. She was not complaining about that fact, it was amazing and such an honour that he was opening his mind to her and expressing his concerns. She had discovered more tonight than she had over the last year. However, he was asking her questions about her sister, her nephew. She had no care at all for Lucius, apart from how it would affect her sister if he were to meet a tragic accident.
"Why do you ask?" Bellatrix responded, slightly cautious.
"You know why I ask, Bella," he said flatly. "Do not play games."
"Last time I looked, you were a master Legilimens," Bellatrix said coolly.
"You do not wish to answer my question, which leads me to think only one thing," Voldemort told her quickly. "So I ask you again, Bella, do I have a reason to suspect them?"
Bellatrix sighed. "They are scared. Every one is terrified of you. Even I…" She trailed off. She couldn't bear to say the words out loud; she didn't want to tell him how she trembled with terror every time she was near him. To speak to him was near impossible when he was in one of his difficult moods, he would contradict and question at every turn and then he wondered why people acted strangely around him.
"Surely not you," Voldemort said, amusement clear in his tone. "The great Bellatrix Black..."
"Riddle," she corrected him sharply.
"Not Lestrange?" he bit back, just as sharp.
Hardly thinking, Bellatrix sat up, turned to him and pounded him with her fist on his shoulder. He sat up too, grabbing her wrist tightly. His eyes were burning but she couldn't tell why.
"You are so cruel," she snapped at him, trying to get him to release his hold on her with her other hand.
"I spent over a year thinking you deserted me when I needed you most, to marry that scum," Voldemort snarled back, his grip tightening. "Yes, I am cruel."
"And I told you the story!" Bellatrix hissed back. "It was that, or giving birth to our child on the streets. I did not leave you. I did it to save you."
Voldemort was silent for a moment after her outburst. Then he spoke but it sounded very reluctant to Bellatrix. "I am wrong to mention it again. Rodolphus is gone."
Bellatrix felt his arms tighten around her body once more as they lay down. "Why do you think anyone could better you, my love?" Bellatrix asked him quietly. "You taught me everything I know, you gave me a perfect life."
"You always said I was difficult," he murmured.
Bellatrix could hardly believe he was saying all of these things. It was like something inside of him had changed, he was so much more like her Tom, the man she dreamt her Lord would return to being one day.
"You are," she responded warmly, kissing his icy cheek. "But then, so am I." She heard him laugh, very quietly. "You are not yourself tonight."
"I…" She heard him sigh, frustrated. "Bella, my horcruxes are being destroyed."
Bellatrix gasped, turning to face him. "Is it Potter?"
Voldemort nodded. "Two are gone."
"And you are happy to destroy the other accidental horcrux that you made?" Bellatrix asked incredulously. "Are you mad?"
"He knows too much," Voldemort told her smoothly. "With Potter and his companions gone, before any more can be destroyed, I will be safe. No one else knows of them, except you."
"I am sure I would not be the first wife to kill her foolish husband," Bellatrix snapped at him.
Voldemort laughed at her. "Bella, think about it. What is left? The one in your vault – who could break into Gringotts?"
"Someone with a lot to loose," Bellatrix told him. "You do realise that Potter left with a Gringotts goblin this very afternoon?"
"Goblin or no, they would have to get past the extra protections I have placed at Gringotts. And then one is at Hogwarts, hidden well away, and the other is Nagini."
"And Potter," Bellatrix spat, furious with him.
"Yes and Potter," Voldemort replied quickly. "Enough. It is not open for discussion."
"So I see," Bellatrix said dryly. She tried to shift away from him but he wouldn't allow her to move.
"Don't," he murmured in her ear. "I need you."
"I needed you when I got out of prison," she snapped.
"I cannot help what I have become," he stated coldly.
"And what exactly have you become?" Bellatrix asked, wondering if this had something to do with the reason he had been staring so intently at himself in the mirror.
"I am no longer a man."
"You've never been a man. You are a god."
He sighed loudly. "Gods cannot be defeated."
"Then win this war, and then call yourself a god." Bellatrix pressed a kiss on his cheek. "Because we will be safe then."
"Tomorrow I will claim the wand."
"It is yours to claim," Bellatrix replied, nodding.
"And then we shall wage war against all of those who have crossed us." He sat up slightly, looking down on her. "I will gain your trust again, Bella. I promise, you will never have cause to doubt me again."
Bellatrix smiled. "I look forward to that."
He lay back down, putting his arm carefully around her and tucking the comforter around her tightly. Bellatrix couldn't remember a time that he treated her more carefully than this. She was happy as she fell back to sleep, dreaming of their future together.
Voldemort walked into their sitting room, smiling slightly as he saw her. It was late and Bellatrix had been thinking about heading to bed. He had a strange expression on his face, and suddenly he stepped forwards and placed something onto the table. It was a wand.
"Is this…?" Bellatrix said, awed.
"It is," Voldemort replied, sitting down next to her. "The most powerful wand in the world."
Bellatrix looked at him, unable to believe that this man was her husband.
"Severus killed him, wand in arm, did he not?" Voldemort asked.
"Yes," Bellatrix replied, playing the scene over in her head.
"And Severus killed Dumbledore under my order, did he not?" he continued.
"Yes," she said softly. "The wand is yours." And even if it weren't, she thought, it would be no difficulty or loss to kill Snape for it.
Voldemort sat back in the chair, staring at the wand. "I am now prepared. If Potter should enter Hogsmede this very night then I could defeat him."
Bellatrix nodded, but she was scared as well. She didn't think she could cope with the loss of him again.
"We are coming toward the end of an era," Voldemort said quietly, reaching out and holding her hand gently. "There is no other way."
"I know," Bellatrix said, squeezing his hand and smiling at him. "You've been different recently. You seem almost like you used to be."
Voldemort leant toward her and kissed her briefly on the lips. His eyes were darkening and he bent back down, kissing her for longer this time. When he pulled back, Bellatrix could feel her pulse quickening but there was nothing she could do. She didn't dare let him back in too much because she didn't think she could cope with losing him all over again. She stood up, looking down on him.
"I'm going to bed," she murmured. "Goodnight, my Lord."
She was almost in their bedroom when he spoke again. "You should call me Tom," he called after her. "When we win… You can. Whenever you want, no matter who else is there." He stood, his eyes fixed on her. "I want you to be my wife in every sense. I want you to be my equal."
Bellatrix frowned, unsure why he was saying this but now was not the moment to ask. It was late, Potter could arrive at any moment and Bellatrix was not in the best place to be thinking about this sort of thing. But she nodded anyway. "Goodnight, Tom," she replied, smiling slightly at him before shutting herself in their bedroom.