There was uproar at the manor. Everyone was crowded into the throne room, far too many people for the size of the room, and Bellatrix was stood on the dais, watching them all. They were all loudly talking amongst themselves. Lucius was stood behind her, his arms crossed but looking much happier now the battle was done, and Antonin was at the front of the crowd, looking up at her. In fact he was staring, as were many of the others.
Antonin had ensured Potter's body had been brought back, and it was currently locked in the dungeon. She was fairly sure that the boy was dead, but she wasn't going to take any chances. She thought Voldemort would probably like to see the proof for himself as well.
Bellatrix didn't think that there was one member of the Order of the Phoenix left standing after their attack. She had left the Carrow's in charge at Hogwarts – they were already overseeing some repairs and a place for the remaining students to sleep. Bellatrix knew they would be Voldemort's priority. He didn't want to waste any blood.
Yaxley was at the Ministry, ensuring everything continued as normal there. She knew she could trust him with that job, they had always been friendly over the years and he was a Death Eater who was probably suspicious about her relationship with the Dark Lord. He didn't want to upset her.
It was almost dawn, and Voldemort had not shown any signs of waking up. She had left Narcissa with him when she decided she had to continue taking charge. The men in this room needed some direction; it was just difficult getting their attention and having her authority respected.
She sighed, looking down to Antonin who was pulling faces at her, as if he was trying to tell her to say something. She had no words. She looked over her shoulder to Lucius, who raised an eyebrow at her. Perhaps he thought he could do a better job. She looked back to the crowd assembled and was about to tell them to be quiet when the doors at the back of the room opened with a loud bang.
Lord Voldemort stood on the threshold, staring into the room with distain.
Bellatrix sighed in relief, thankful that he was awake and that she didn't have to do this alone anymore. Narcissa was standing meekly behind him, her head bowed slightly. The room was silenced immediately. As he began to walk forward, the crowd separated.
His eyes met hers, and Bellatrix felt like she needed to sit down. Her head was spinning, but she remained strong and upright. She stepped off the dais as he reached her, because she knew it was his moment. He apparently had other ideas. He grabbed her by the back of the neck, and kissed her with so much force that she was glad he was holding her up. She could hear talking around her, but it didn't matter because she was with him.
When he pulled back, his eyes were the most brilliant red she had ever seen them.
"I am so pleased to see you recovered, my Lord," she murmured, smiling up at him.
Voldemort frowned slightly at her. "Have we won the war?" he asked. "Did Narcissa lie, when she told me about how you killed Potter?"
"No," Bellatrix replied softly, wondering where he was going with this.
"Then you are my equal now, Bella," he said, taking hold of her hand.
Bellatrix remembered what he had said, not so long ago. "Tom," she said finally. "Are you well, Tom?"
His face broke into a smile and he kissed her again. "Yes, my Lady," he murmured, pulling her hand up and kissing it. Then he stepped onto the platform, pulling her with him.
"We are victorious!" he called out, and there were cheers around them. "We have won!" He stood there with a smile, apparently soaking up the applause and cheers. Bellatrix wondered if she was dreaming. She could see Antonin watching her, grinning and clapping. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Lucius and Narcissa walking out of the room. She didn't think she could blame them.
"First we took Hogwarts," Voldemort continued. "I ensured the death of Dumbledore. And then we took the Ministry, and have so far been successful in ensuring that muggles and mudbloods do not endanger our survival." Bellatrix smiled and clapped, enjoying the success too. She felt like she deserved to enjoy this. "And tonight, we finished the Order of the Phoenix and… With the help of my wife…" Bellatrix smiled as he turned to look at her, not seeing anything else around them. He turned back to the crowd. "We finished Potter."
Voldemort let the cheering and the clapping continue for a while. Everyone was drunk on their success. "When I tried to kill Potter, sixteen years ago, part of me became part of him when the spell rebounded." There were murmurs, of course many had been speculating this but now it was confirmed. "Tonight I needed to destroy that bond. And tonight, I sacrificed part of myself for the greater good!"
There were cheers once more, and Voldemort turned back to Bellatrix. "More than they'll ever know," he murmured to her. "Did I come close to sacrificing you, too?" he asked.
Bellatrix smiled at him. "I loved you no matter what you did," she whispered back. Voldemort chuckled, and Bellatrix had never felt so loved by him. He was truly sharing this moment with her.
Voldemort looked back to his followers, smiling as they silenced to hear him. "Almost twenty five years ago, I met a young woman called Bellatrix." He smirked towards her. "The most beautiful, clever and fierce woman I had ever met. She learned all that I knew, and before long became my second and my wife. When I lost my body, she entered a false marriage under duress to continue her work and when the time came, renounced life rather than deny me. And tonight, when I was unable, she took the life of my greatest enemy."
Bellatrix was watching him, unable to believe that she was hearing these words and unable to believe he was talking about her this much. She'd spent so long doubting his love for her – and now she couldn't doubt him any longer.
"Before the battle tonight, we took steps to ensure our immortality. Gentlemen, may I present to you my wife and my equal, Bellatrix Gaunt – the Dark Lady." He grabbed her hand, pulling her forwards to stand next to him. Bellatrix gasped, staring at him. He winked at her, smirking. For a moment, Bellatrix thought she could see Tom. She hoped that would be his next course of action. "I suggest," Voldemort called through the noise in the room. "Tonight, you celebrate our victory, for tomorrow we will be tasked with ruling this great country!"
That got the biggest reaction. Voldemort turned back to Bellatrix. "Shall we go to our rooms and host our own celebration? I suspect Lucius and I will need to converse."
"Of course," Bellatrix replied with a smile. He took her hand once more and they stepped down from the platform and headed to the door. Everyone was bowing, and while Bellatrix was used to people bowing as she walked past with Voldemort, she was not used to it for herself. She paused as she saw Antonin. "Come to our rooms shortly," she murmured. Antonin nodded and they continued.
Bellatrix let out a breath as they left the hall, tilting her head to look at her husband. "Tom," she said. He looked back at her.
"Yes, my love?" he replied, his eyes warm.
"I hope you can forgive me for ever doubting how you felt for me," she said softly as they walked up the stairs.
"And I hope you can forgive me for everything, Bella," he replied, squeezing her hand. "Let tonight be a new start for us, too."
Bellatrix nodded, grinning at him. Her smile dropped slightly as she saw Lucius, Narcissa and Draco standing outside of their rooms.
"My Lord," Lucius said, stepping forwards.
"Come in, Lucius," Voldemort said, his voice soft. Bellatrix beckoned to Narcissa and Draco to follow.
Draco's eyes were wide as he saw the inside of the Dark Lord's rooms. He hadn't seen them before.
"Say what you must," Voldemort said coolly, turning to face Lucius. "Tonight we are celebrating."
Lucius nodded, looking to Bellatrix for a moment before going back to Voldemort. "I have served you throughout my life," Lucius began. "I have always done what I can for your cause."
"And I am grateful for your sacrifice," Voldemort replied.
"I have come to ask you if we have your permission to retire to France," Lucius said, beckoning to Narcissa. "And if you will allow Draco to return to school next year to finish his education, before allowing him to move with us."
Voldemort nodded. "I shall allow you to do whatever you wish, Lucius. You and your family have served me faithfully."
"We have done our best," Lucius responded coolly.
"Politics is, however, not my strong suit. It has always been yours, Lucius." Bellatrix could see Lucius swallowing. Even now, Voldemort was able to charm anyone. "And Narcissa, I had a role in mind for you, too." Narcissa blushed under his gaze. "You are all family. I realise that now."
Lucius was frowning, apparently trying to work out what was going on.
Bellatrix stepped forward. "Nothing needs to be decided tonight. You must take your time, and consider what is being offered."
Voldemort nodded. "Lucius, I should be honoured if you would resume your family given position as senior adviser to the new Minister."
"And who is the new Minister, my Lord?" Lucius asked, smirking slightly.
Voldemort smirked back. "And Narcissa, I would appreciate your help at Hogwarts. You are a devoted mother and you know what children, and their families, need."
Narcissa nodded. "Thank you, my Lord." She glanced to Lucius. "We shall consider your offer, of course."
Antonin opened the door and stepped in, followed by Yaxley and a few others. Bellatrix grinned, moving towards Antonin and hugging him tight. Antonin gently pushed her away, before bowing slightly. "My Lady," he murmured. Bellatrix rolled her eyes.
"Don't be ridiculous," she said, hugging him again. "You have kept me going through this."
"Dolohov," Voldemort called, and for a moment Bellatrix was nervous. She turned back to him, staring, as he beckoned Antonin over. Bellatrix followed. "You have been a true friend to my wife. Perhaps you would dine with us one evening soon."
Antonin bowed slightly. "That would be wonderful, my Lord," he replied.
"You helped maintain the peace when I fell this evening, did you not?" Voldemort continued.
"I did my duty, my Lord," Antonin responded softly. "To you and your wife."
"Well, name the position you would like and it shall be yours," Voldemort said, his voice fairly warm. Bellatrix raised her eyebrows in surprise. Voldemort really was pulling out all the stops tonight.
Narcissa appeared before Bellatrix, looking pale and exhausted. "Draco and I are going to go home," she whispered. "Lucius wants to stay."
Bellatrix nodded. "Come and see me tomorrow," she said, hugging her sister tightly. "Whatever your decision. Please make the right one for your family. I promise you, things are different now though." She sighed as she watched her sister and her nephew leave. She looked across the room to Lucius, who looked a little lost. She walked over to him. "Drink, brother?" she asked him, although he'd probably been drinking enough over the last few months.
Lucius smiled at her slightly. "Thank you," he replied, following her to the cabinet. She poured them both strong drinks, before pouring others out for everyone else and handing them around. Voldemort was talking seriously to Antonin and Yaxley. She returned to Lucius's side.
"Don't go," she said softly.
"Our life is in tatters," Lucius responded lightly. He took a gulp of his drink. "If it was down to me, I would stay. My life has been about the Dark Lord since I was a boy."
"Does Narcissa still fear for Draco?"
Lucius smiled wryly. "It's not that, Bellatrix. Narcissa will never forget this, nor will she forgive it, no matter how hard she tries. You must see that."
"I do," Bellatrix agreed.
"Our marriage is… Strained. She blames me. If I don't go with her then… She will go alone." Lucius turned away from the rest of the room, running his hand over his face.
"But you don't want to go?" Bellatrix asked. "You would rather stay here?"
"And Draco would rather stay too. He… He wants to marry someone. A Greengrass girl." Lucius shook his head. "She's got fairly decent blood, at least."
Bellatrix smiled. "Does Narcissa know?"
"No, Draco doesn't want to upset her any more."
"Don't you see, Lucius?" Bellatrix said, patting him on the arm. "This news will make Narcissa want to stay. A wedding will be the best thing for her, for all of us."
"Do you think so?" Lucius asked, frowning.
"Draco is her darling. All she wants is for him to be happy." Bellatrix glanced behind her for a moment to ensure they were not overheard. "The Dark Lord has tonight shared with me his secret of immortality. I am immortal, I cannot die. Do you think he would have taken that decision lightly? I have power now. No more harm will come to you or your family." Lucius was smiling slightly at her. "You should have heard him. He basically told the whole room – his entire army – that he is in love with me."
Lucius nodded. "I'll try to make her see that our place is here."
"I love Draco. He may be the closest I ever come to a son."
"He thinks the world of you, for some reason," Lucius said, smirking. Bellatrix laughed.
"Come, come," she murmured, beckoning to Voldemort. She crossed the room to him, surprised when he put his arm around her and drew her in, in front of so many people. "Lucius may reconsider," she said lightly, smiling at her husband. Voldemort looked up at him and nodded.
"I hope he does," he responded, before looking back to her. "Did you have a drink?" Bellatrix nodded. "Let me know when you're tired," he murmured, stroking her hair.
Bellatrix smirked up at him. "I'm not a doll, Tom," she said.
"You're far more beautiful than a doll," he replied. "Maelor tells me all is well at the Ministry tonight," he said, slightly louder, beckoning to Yaxley.
"Good news," Bellatrix replied.
"I have asked him to be the First Secretary to the Minister," Voldemort continued.
"You have worked tirelessly, Maelor," Bellatrix said with a nod. "The Ministry is in safe hands."
"Thank you, my Lady," Yaxley replied, nodding slightly. "It is an honour, as is being asked here tonight."
Bellatrix glanced toward the window. "Well, it is morning now," she said, laughing slightly as she could see the sun starting to come up.
"I should go and get some sleep," Yaxley said, before bowing. "Goodnight my Lord, my Lady."
"Goodnight," Bellatrix replied. She noticed him stop and whisper something to Antonin, before leaving the room.
Antonin coughed slightly, before looking over to Bellatrix. "Err… I'm going to go, too…"
Bellatrix raised her eyebrows before pulling him away from the others. "Are you…" she asked, wondering if Antonin and Yaxley were seeing each other.
"Shh," Antonin whispered. Then he smiled. "I mean, I've been wondering for a while about Yaxley… When we were in Azkaban, the second time around, there weren't enough cells and we shared for a bit. We got talking."
Bellatrix grinned. "Are you going back with him?"
Antonin grinned back. "Well, that's what he just asked me to do."
Bellatrix clapped her hands happily. "This is my dream come true!" she said, giggling. "I can have a gay couple as my best friends! Are you going to put out?"
Antonin snorted. "I don't kiss and tell, Bellatrix," he said. "Now, I will see you tomorrow." He pressed a kiss against her forehead. "By then, you'll have forgotten all about me."
"Don't be stupid," Bellatrix replied, grinning. "I can't wait for details!"
She watched as he left, smiling, before turning back to Lucius and her husband. Everyone else had gone.
"I'll bid you goodnight," Lucius said, and he looked much happier. He bowed, to both of them, before leaving the room.
The door was barely shut by the time Voldemort had grabbed her and was kissing her. Bellatrix kissed him back as hard as she could, so pleased that he was hers once more.
"What happened when you woke up?" Bellatrix asked when they had separated.
"Nothing, really," Voldemort said. "Narcissa looked like she'd seen a ghost, but quickly told me what you were trying to do. I came down straight away."
"Why did you give me your mothers name?" she said softly.
"It's the name I want our children to have," Voldemort responded. "They will be Slytherin's heirs. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all," Bellatrix replied. She looked up at him, before grinning. "Shall we try and make one now?"
Voldemort looked down at her, tracing his hand down her back. "I am sure something can be arranged," he replied, before lifting her into his arms and carrying her into the bedroom.
Bellatrix awoke the next morning to an empty bed. She was worried for a moment, because she had expected him to be there. She was just contemplating her next move when the door opened, and Tom walked in. He had transformed. He didn't look a day older or different to when she had last seen him, before he went to Godric's Hollow.
She gasped, looking towards him in surprise. He had spoken about this moment, but she didn't think it would be so amazing. He was finally her Tom again, down to the smirk on his old lips. She slid out of bed and took a step towards him, looking up in amazement. He still didn't have any hair, but when she reached out to touch his head, she could feel soft fuzz that hadn't been there before.
"It'll grow back," he said, and the warmth was back in his voice, warmth that never quite appeared to this extent before.
Bellatrix took in every centimetre of his face. He had a nose once more, and she was certain that it was the same one, although she couldn't exactly remember. His skin was now pale, instead of being chalk white. She was only half disappointed to see that his eyes had returned to being pale blue again.
"No red eyes?" she asked, tracing her fingers down his face.
"Not at present," he responded, putting his arms around her and pulling her in close. "But you could try really irritating me, and see if that still works to turn them?"
Bellatrix laughed softly. "I'd rather not," she said, shaking her head at him. "We've spent enough time fighting."
Voldemort chuckled. "I remember a time we enjoyed a good fight."
"Yes, it was our foreplay," she replied, smirking. She pulled back, looking up at him. "How…?"
Voldemort smiled, kissing her. "It was a potion I had Severus make me. A sort of youth potion, I suppose."
Bellatrix nodded, feeling slightly uncomfortable suddenly. She pulled away and sat on the bed.
"What is is?" he asked her, concerned.
"It's just…" She stopped, looking up at him and then gesturing to herself. "You look so perfect again, and now I am inadequate."
Voldemort strode towards her and knelt at her feet, kissing her hands. "You will never be inadequate, my Bella," he responded. "You must never think or say that again. You have not been well."
Bellatrix smiled slightly. "Well, I haven't coughed for a while. Since you started to make the potions for me, I have got better."
"Perhaps I was a little blind to Severus," he admitted after a moment.
"I don't believe he made me sicker," Bellatrix said, her voice soft. "But I don't believe he made the correct potion, either."
"I should have listened to you," he replied softly.
Bellatrix smirked at him. "You won't make that mistake again?" she asked him, laughing.
"Behind every powerful man is an even more powerful woman," Voldemort responded.
"I'm not sure that's entirely accurate, Tom, but I'll accept it anyway," Bellatrix replied with a snort.
"It is," he insisted, kissing her hands.
"I can't believe how different you are," Bellatrix said. "How normal you are."
"It's strange," he replied, laying his head in her lap. "It's not a choice, you know."
"I know," Bellatrix responded softly, running her fingers over his fuzzy head. This somehow made him more human.
"No one has done what I have done before," he continued. "But I think with the soul of my love within me… I can stay like this."
"Perhaps I will spend the rest of my life cursing everyone that irritates me," Bellatrix said with a grin.
He looked up at her. "I thought you already did?" he asked, winking.
Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "Not you, though," she retorted.
"Well, I promise to be on my best behaviour from now on if that's what you're threatening me with," he replied, sitting up on the bed next to her. "How do you feel, though? Yourself?"
"I feel like my old self," she replied. "When your spell hit Potter, and destroyed the Horcrux, I felt the pain too."
"It was pretty painful," Voldemort agreed. "Killing part of myself."
"But it didn't hurt when Potter destroyed the others?"
"Not as much," Voldemort replied. "I could feel it, I didn't always know what it was though."
"Where is Nagini?" Bellatrix asked after a moment, suddenly concerned.
"In her usual spot, by the fire," Voldemort said. "You should be able to understand her now."
"I hope so," Bellatrix replied, squeezing his hand. "I've always been suspicious about you talking about me or something."
"She's spent most of the last few months telling me to be nicer to you," he replied, shrugging. "She says we are soul mates."
Bellatrix burst out laughing. "We literally are, Tom," she said. He laughed back.
"As much as I'd love to stay here with you all day, we do have a country to run," he said, kissing her hands again. "I thought we should go to the Ministry and find our office. See if it needs to be customised." She caught his gaze and laughed, knowing full well what he meant.
"Actually, I was going to summon a dress maker," Bellatrix said, shaking her head at him. "I need to feel myself again, before I can do anything else." She looked at him. "Got any of that potion left?"
Voldemort snorted. "You don't need anything that strong, my love. A few steaks and you'll be as good as new."
Bellatrix stood up and opened her wardrobe door. There were so many different dresses and robes, she hardly knew where to start. She felt him standing behind her.
"I was going to suggest a dinner party in the next few days," he said softly. "Or a ball. We could have an annual ball on the anniversary, every second of May shall be a great celebration."
"You leave the parties to me," Bellatrix replied, pulling out a dress and hanging it up. "I'm sure this dress is huge on me now, I need to try it."
"Can't you just shrink it?" Voldemort asked, running his fingers through her hair.
"It doesn't need to be shrunk upwards though, just… Inwards. I can't quite get the spell right."
"Put it on," Voldemort said, his voice soft but for some reason she didn't want to disobey him. She turned around to look at him. "Please," he added, watching her carefully.
Sighing, Bellatrix pulled of her nightdress and put the dress on. "See, it's like a bag," she said, reaching to take it off again. Voldemort put his hands on her hips, stopping her from removing it. "Tom!" she exclaimed. "I hate…" She stopped, feeling the dress tighten around her. When he pulled back, she looked down and could see it fitted perfectly. She looked back up at him. "Seriously, you never fail to amaze me."
He put his hand on the small of her back, pushing her forwards. "Look in the mirror," he whispered in her ear. As she looked at herself in their full-length mirror, Bellatrix couldn't see much. But then he pushed her closer, and opened the curtains with a wave of his hand, and after being blinded for a moment, Bellatrix could see.
Her mouth dropped open. She looked different. It was a subtle change, but it was enough for her. The grey strands in her hair were gone, as was the darkness around her eyes. Her skin looked healthier and had lost the lines that her years in prison had caused her. "Did you do this?" she asked, running her fingers over her full lips.
"Kind of," Voldemort said, smirking. "I hardly noticed it at first, but suddenly… You looked different. There's no way of describing it, really."
"Different," she echoed. "Not younger but… healthier?"
"Yes, Voldemort replied, putting his arms around her. "Healthy and perfect."
"When we came back from making our Horcrux's, Antonin was staring at me. It must have been something to do with that." Bellatrix reached down and picked up the red lipstick from her dresser. She turned around and showed it to him. "What do you think?"
"Yes," Voldemort replied, without hesitation. "It makes you look even sexier. My Dark Lady…"
He turned back to the wardrobe, looking through. Then he pulled some robes out. "Wear these." Then he moved to his wardrobe and pulled out a set of robes too. He smirked for a moment, before pulling them on. Bellatrix finished applying her lipstick then turned to look at him.
"Better," was all she said, grinning as he winked at her. The robes were thicker and made him look more regal. They were trimmed in silver and made from a richer material. She pulled the robes he had chosen over her dress, and studied herself again. She looked like a queen.
"Agreed," Voldemort said, smirking at her. "Now, shall we go to the Ministry after some breakfast?"
Bellatrix nodded. "Yes, my love," she replied, picking up her wand and applying a few charms to her hair. It instantly looked tidier. She didn't feel like her old self completely until she pulled on a pair of high heels.
"It'll be a miracle if we get any work done today," he said, his eyes wandering all over her. "I feel like I did after the first time I fucked you." He pulled her close, kissing her again. "Like I could spend the rest of my life inside of you," he whispered as they left the room.
"Highly impractical," Bellatrix replied, grinning. As they walked through the door to the sitting room, and down the stairs to the rest of the house, Bellatrix could hear voices. It wasn't until they opened the door to the hall and rounded the corner that she realised all of the marked Death Eaters were gathered – down the stairs and into the entrance hall. They were clapping. At the top of the grand staircase, Voldemort stopped. There was a stunned silence for a moment; everyone was taking in the sight before them.
"My loyal friends," Voldemort began to speak. "Today is the dawn of a new era. Today the hard work begins. We would not be here without all of you." The Death Eaters were clapping again. "Each and every one of you will be rewarded," Voldemort continued. "You, my most loyal, will be the rulers of our new world!"
Someone ran up the stairs towards them, bowing as he reached them. "May I take a photo for the Prophet, my Lord?"
Voldemort nodded, raising his hand to wave at his followers. Bellatrix did the same, smiling in relief because she at least looked presentable. There was a flash, and after a couple of minutes, Voldemort pulled her away and they went to their dining room. Bellatrix was relieved to see their breakfast waiting.
"I suppose we should get used to that, for now," Bellatrix said, pouring herself coffee.
"Not everyone will want to merely take our picture," Voldemort replied. "We will have to appoint a new inner circle and consider a guard. We may be immortal now, but we are not indestructible."
"We could lock ourselves away," Bellatrix said, grinning at him.
"Me, you, and that lipstick?" Voldemort asked.
Bellatrix laughed, looking back up at him. He was so perfect again, so gorgeous and she couldn't believe he was all hers.