As they entered the Ministry through the fireplaces, Bellatrix was suddenly struck with a memory of the last time she'd been here. She'd killed Sirius. It had been that night she'd learned about Voldemort true blood, and that night that he had saved her from imprisonment again.
As he stepped out, he glanced at her, smirking as if he knew what she was thinking about. "I destroyed this room last time I was here," he commented lightly.
Bellatrix smirked back, then noticed Maelor walking towards them, surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of people. "My Lord, my Lady," he said, bowing to them. "Welcome to your Ministry of Magic."
"Thank you, Yaxley," Voldemort replied softly. "Shall we?"
"Of course," Maelor replied, smiling at Bellatrix and beckoning to one of the lifts. The doors opened, and the three of them stepped inside. As soon as the doors shut, Maelor turned to look at them. "Apologies for the crowd," he said, his voice slightly nervous. "So many people were eager to see you both."
Voldemort smirked slightly. "We can hardly blame them for that."
Bellatrix felt the lift lurch slightly, before getting the feeling that they were being whizzed upwards. Then there was a small 'ding' and the doors to the lift opened. "This is your private lift now, my Lord," Maelor said, allowing them to step out of the lift first. "It is the only lift that reaches this level, so only those you have invited or given permission to may reach you personally. Your staff are in the floor just below."
"Thank you, Yaxley," Voldemort said after a moment. "I shall call you if we require assistance."
Maelor bowed and got back in the lift. As the doors closed, Bellatrix looked around her. There was a set of gold plated double doors just ahead of them. Voldemort walked forward and opened them, and Bellatrix couldn't help the gasp.
The most beautiful room she had ever seen was before them. It was a round room, with several doors leading off from it. It was decorated entirely in gold and mirrors; comfortable leather seats were in the middle of the room with golden tables and dark wooden furniture against the curved walls. She could see a well stocked drinks cabinet as well, which was definitely a bonus.
"Too Gryffindor," Voldemort said, wrinkling his nose.
"It's beautiful," Bellatrix murmured, stepping forwards. Suddenly, there was a blur of colour and then all of the gold had turned silver, and the chairs were dark green. She turned to look at him, and he was smirking at her.
"My Lady Gaunt," he said, raising his eyebrows. "We are the heirs of Slytherin and everyone must know it."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes at him, but she couldn't help her smile. "What do you think is behind these doors?" she asked, stepping towards one of them. She opened it, and there was a similarly decorated huge study, with tall bookshelves and a gorgeous mahogany desk with matching chair, and a couple of other chairs as well.
She moved to the next room and saw it was a beautiful bathroom, complete with small swimming pool sized bath. She smirked at Voldemort, knowing exactly what he was thinking. The next room along was slightly smaller, although still a big room, with a bed.
"I wonder which Minister had this put in," Voldemort said, grinning at her. "Ooh, I bet Septimus Malfoy made Unctuous Osbert have it installed in the seventeen hundreds," he continued. "So Septimus could do a little convincing. Poor Osbert, I bet that wasn't very enjoyable for him."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes again. "Stop it, you know the Malfoy's don't like to talk about those rumours, Tom."
Voldemort turned to face her, his eyes glittering. "Probably because the rumours were true, then," he said. "Heaven forbid – a Malfoy liking other men."
Bellatrix sniggered. "I wouldn't put it past Lucius."
Voldemort smiled at her, and he seemed very knowing to her. "Lucius is definitely not up for that."
"Why, have you tried?" she asked, laughing as he glared at her. "I know, I know, you've seen his mind."
"Come," he said, turning back to her. "Let's have a little drink."
Bellatrix grinned, sitting down in one of the armchairs in the first room as Voldemort studied the cabinet. "Ooh," he said, turning to face her with a bottle of wine and two glasses. "Someone had good taste." He poured two glasses for them. Bellatrix could see it was a very dark yellow white wine. She took a sip.
"Wow," she said, smirking up at him. "That is very well aged."
Voldemort sat down next to her. "It's very expensive," he replied, tapping her glass with his own. Bellatrix leant against him, sighing happily.
"I think we can afford it." She sat up, putting the glass down and turning to face him. "I feel like I should get to know you again," she said, putting her hand inside of his robes slightly. She could see him smirking at her through the corner of her eye. She slowly started to unbutton his robes, staring at the exposed flesh as she did. As she finished, she smiled up at him. "You haven't changed a bit."
Voldemort grabbed her wrist with his free hand as she went to push the robes off of him. "I haven't," he said, putting the glass down. He pulled her wrist towards his hand, lightly sucking on her skin. "I am still your master, Bella. I am in charge of you." Bellatrix moaned slightly at the contact, but more at his words. She could see his smirk, but the arousal was too great for her to be able to concentrate properly. Then she felt his hand slip into her hair with a tight grip, and it was almost too much as he pulled her into a dominating kiss.
"I thank Merlin that you are back," she murmured when he finally let go of her. He began unbuttoning her robes.
"Why?" he asked, his voice slightly rough.
"Now you're just the master of my sex life," she replied, struggling to get the robes off quickly enough. He kissed her bruisingly again.
"Wasn't I before?" he asked, hitching her dress up to her waist.
"Not like this," Bellatrix said, running her hands over the fuzz on his head, watching his face carefully. "We had sex occasionally, but nothing else. Nothing before."
"Perhaps looking younger makes me feel younger," he replied, tracing his fingers up and down her thighs. He moved over so that he was straddling her legs. "It wasn't ideal, before. My cock wasn't the same." Bellatrix laughed softly, finally managing to push his robes from his shoulders. "Did I say you could do that?" he asked, his voice stern for a moment.
"No, Master," Bellatrix replied, trying to hide her smile.
He moved forwards, pressing his lips against her neck. "I will punish you," he murmured into her skin. "You'll scream."
Bellatrix sighed, squeezing him tightly to her. "I hope so," she replied, moaning as he nipped his teeth against her neck. Then he was gone from her lap, roughly pulling her up and bending her over the back of the chair. He gripped her hair tightly as he pushed into her.
"My slave," he hissed, the pleasure clear in his voice. Bellatrix couldn't remember a time when he had felt so good inside of her. She felt her orgasm quickly. "My slave likes the rough treatment, does she?" he asked, tugging at her hair and pounding into her.
"Yes, Master," Bellatrix said, between her moans. "She loves it." Voldemort grunted, shifting angles slightly. Bellatrix cried out, orgasming again. "Tom!" she screamed out, feeling her insides clenching against him.
His thrusts slowed down to a stop and he bent over her, panting. "Bella, my filthy wife," he murmured, kissing her the back of her neck.
"Filthy only because of being married to you," she responded, standing up as he withdrew from her. She turned to face him and kissed him. Voldemort smirked, tugging her dress down. "Don't clean yourself," he whispered, running his fingers through her hair in an attempt to tidy her up. "I want you to remember what we just did for the rest of the morning, for every moment."
Bellatrix moaned lightly as he kissed her again. "Tom…"
"We can do whatever we like now," Voldemort told her, squeezing her hand. "And you're going to do that for me now." He pulled his robes back on, smirking. He threw her robes over and Bellatrix pulled them on, already feeling aroused again.
"And when we get home?" she said, although she already knew the answer.
"I'm going to fuck you in my office, over the desk, just like we used to do," he replied, standing close to her. "Did you enjoy that?" he asked, clearly slightly concerned for a moment.
"To be honest, Tom," she said, grinning. "There wouldn't be much point in a cleaning spell right now."
Voldemort laughed, putting his arm around her and kissing the top of her head. "Merlin, you are so perfect."
"Not as perfect as you," Bellatrix replied, and for the first time in many years, she could say that and mean it. He was treating her perfectly. "Do you think we're going to get over each other any time soon?"
"I'm never going to get over you," Voldemort said softly. "I will always want to make you scream for me."
Bellatrix sighed in desire as they headed for the lift, enjoying the feeling of his arm around her. He had hardly let go of her since yesterday evening's events, and although there was something very possessive over his hold, she found that she didn't mind being possessed by him. There was something very sexy about it.
In the lift, she caught his gaze in one of the mirrors, and almost blushed at the way he was looking at her. His gaze was so intense; it was like he was going to devour her. He looked away when he realised he'd been caught, but Bellatrix suddenly felt very safe with him. There was no way he would ever let anything bad happen to her again, and Bellatrix knew that she needed that knowledge to get on with her life.
Bellatrix was nervous as they approached the dungeon later that afternoon. What if Potter wasn't really dead? Voldemort had his arm around her again and she really was starting to wonder if he was ever going to let go of her. Not that she minded. All the contact was wonderful.
As they approached, it was clear that Potter really was dead. He had a bluish tinge on his skin and he definitely hadn't moved.
Voldemort poked him for good measure, looking up at her when nothing happened. "Stop panicking," he said lightly.
"I'm not," Bellatrix said, but she knew he didn't believe her. She was relieved that she had done the job properly.
"But it wouldn't have mattered if you hadn't," Voldemort said quietly. "Because he is just a symbol."
Bellatrix shook her head, not even bothered he'd been in her mind. "I know, Tom," murmured. "Why do you think it knocked you out, when the killing curse hit him the first time?"
Voldemort shrugged. "Instability," he murmured, taking her hand in his. "I'd lost two that night and made a new one. I suppose destroying part of myself with my own wand would hurt more."
"It hurt me too," Bellatrix said, squeezing his hand. "But I'm glad I'm still keeping your Horcrux safe."
Smiling, Voldemort kissed her lightly. "And I am keeping yours safe too," he replied. "I can feel you within me, you know, Bella. I know how you are feeling."
"Why can't I feel you?" she asked after a moment.
"I am highly tuned into this connection now, after sharing the connection with Potter." He looked back to the fallen hero before them. "I manipulated his mind so much, he had no idea what was truth and what was lies."
"I shall have to practice," Bellatrix said. "I'd love to fill your mind with sex images during a meeting."
Voldemort half glared at her. "You will learn that you are never far from my thoughts," he replied. "Now, I said something about my desk earlier and we still haven't had chance." He glanced back to Potter. "Tonight we shall burn him. But first, the rest of the country must have a chance to see the proof."
Bellatrix smirked at him as they walked away. "Shall we invite them all here?" she asked.
"Yaxley can arrange for that photographer to come back," Voldemort replied, ignoring her comment. As they walked up the stairs, Bellatrix suddenly had a strong vision flash before her eyes. It was Voldemort's view of their activities in their new office at the Ministry that morning.
"Hey!" Bellatrix snapped at him. "That was my idea!"
She was greeted by his laughter. Some things never changed!
It was getting late and the stars were starting to twinkle in the sky. Standing in the gardens at the back of their house, Bellatrix was staring at Potter's body. It was stacked on a pyre of dry tree branches. She couldn't believe he was finally dead. She'd decided to come out a bit earlier than the others, just to have a moment to herself to let what they had achieved sink in properly.
As she stared at him, she could see something glistening in the moonlight around his neck. Bellatrix frowned, stepped forwards and tugging it from around Potter's neck. It was a large, rectangular golden locket with a green 'S' on it, like a snake. Intrigued, she turned it over and finally opened it. There was a tiny piece of paper in it. She closed the locket and clutched it in her hand, knowing this was not the moment to read it.
She could hear Voldemort coming and she stepped away from the body, looking at him. She slipped the locket into her pocket.
"Ready?" Voldemort asked her, his voice soft. Bellatrix nodded, looking to see who else had arrived. Lucius, Antonin, Maelor, Rabastan, Selwyn, Fawley, Mulciber, Avery, Travers, McNair and Rowle stood slightly behind them, none of them speaking. Voldemort raised his wand and lit the tree branches around the body. He slid his arm around her and she leant into his touch, happy that they were seeing the end of their enemy.
The fire grew strong, lighting the house up in the glow. For some reason, she couldn't stop thinking about Evan. Bellatrix sighed lightly and Voldemort looked down at her. "What is it?" he asked, squeezing her.
"Nothing," she replied, smiling up at him slightly. "It's just we've done this for our worst enemy and… I wish we could have given Evan a better send off."
Voldemort nodded. "He is missed," he said softly.
"You miss him?" Bellatrix asked, frowning up at him.
"I do," Voldemort replied. "Not just because of you, although I think things might have turned out differently if he had been with us when I…" He trailed off. "I miss how he used to make us laugh, with his idiotic tendencies and all the women."
"Why do you think Evan could have done something we didn't try?" Bellatrix asked after a moment.
"I think if Evan was there, he would have protected you and helped you to do what you needed to do." Voldemort kissed the top of her head lightly, looking over at the now huge fire.
"Better than Lestrange," Bellatrix mumbled, fully aware his brother was stood just behind them. She realised that Rabastan still hadn't spoken to her since Voldemort's announcement, and she wondered how awkward he must be feeling. She smiled to herself. She was happy to let him feel worried for a long time. "Although in a funny way, I miss him too," Bellatrix said after a moment. She could feel Voldemort's finger digging into her very suddenly.
"Careful," he said, his voice slightly cold.
"Don't!" Bellatrix snapped at him, gripping his arm. "Not like that." The pressure faded but he was still tense. "He was good at what he did."
"He still failed to protect you, when he should have done," Voldemort said in reply.
"Yes, he did," Bellatrix replied. "Still, he died in a way which befitted him."
Voldemort snorted. The fire was starting to die. He glanced over his shoulder. "Anyone for a drink?" he asked. There were various sounds of agreement so Voldemort, still holding onto his wife, led everyone into the parlour. Bellatrix sighed again, picking up a couple of bottles and pouring out firewhiskey into glasses for everyone. She passed them around.
Voldemort raised his glass. "To a new beginning," he said softly.
Everyone else raised their glasses in toast before the drinking began in earnest. Bellatrix took Voldemort's arm and led him away from the others. "I found this on him," she said softly, pulling the locket out of her pocket. Voldemort gasped, taking it from her and examining it properly. Then he let out a sigh.
"It's fake," he murmured. "I…" He looked up at her. "I used the original of this for…"
Bellatrix took it back from him, nodding. She understood. "There's a note or something inside." She opened the locket and pulled out the piece of paper, slowly unravelling it. They read it together. When they were done, she looked up to Voldemort whose eyes had finally turned red. "Regulus," Bellatrix breathed, hardly noticing his eyes and screwing the note up. She could hardly believe it. "Why would he have done this?"
Voldemort pulled away from her slightly. "Now is not the time to discuss this," he said, shaking his head.
"To discuss what, exactly?" Bellatrix asked, narrowing her eyes at him. "You said you had no more secrets from me, Tom."
He moved closer to her again. "I have hundreds of secrets, Bellatrix. I have secrets that even I have forgotten," he hissed. "I had to hide that somewhere else," he said, pointing to the locket. "It needed to be secure, and I needed to test the security of it."
"So you used Regulus?" Bellatrix replied, frowning.
"No, I used his house elf," Voldemort replied sharply. "A house elf that he was obviously very attached to."
"And you didn't tell me any of this?" Bellatrix asked.
Voldemort glared at her. "Obviously not." He must have seen the hurt expression on her face because he softened immediately and brought her hands up to his lips, kissing them repeatedly. "I wanted to protect you. What happened with the cup, I… You weren't the same for weeks after that."
Bellatrix sighed, but she knew she couldn't be angry with him for that. "I don't need to be protected," she said softly, kissing the tips of his fingers. "Don't try to protect me, Tom."
Nodding, Voldemort pulled her in closer. "I won't," he said softly. He kissed her hair. "Am I forgiven?"
Bellatrix nodded back, laughing slightly. "Yes," she said. She watched as Voldemort slipped the necklace around her neck.
"The original necklace can be seen in the portrait of Salazar's wife, just upstairs," he said. "You should wear it."
"It's fake," Bellatrix replied, rolling her eyes.
"It's a good fake," Voldemort said, smirking at her. "It can be our little secret."
Bellatrix laughed. He was perfect. "Shall we get another drink?" Seeing him nod, they joined the others once more. Antonin was smiling at her, and even Rabastan seemed friendly enough. Bellatrix couldn't recall feeling happier for a long, long time.
By the next evening, the inner circle had been chosen and Bellatrix and Voldemort had thrown a massive dinner party for all twenty of them. They had finished eating, the wine was still flowing and there was beautiful classical music playing in the background. It was wonderful.
Bellatrix was wearing a dark green silk dress, which wrapped around her top half tightly before flaring out at the waist to touch the floor. Voldemort had turned out the tiara he had bought her for their wedding, and after a bit of cleaning he had convinced Bellatrix to wear it.
Although she'd spent the evening sat next to him and had seen him on the previous night when they had cremated Potter too, Bellatrix still had no idea about what had happened with Antonin and Yaxley. She suspected, from the way they were looking at each other, that things had gone well. Yaxley was sat across from them, down a seat from Lucius. Voldemort had kept conversation flowing between all of them, all night, but now that was ebbing.
Bellatrix turned to Antonin. "So?" she hissed. "Did you fuck him?"
Antonin sighed lightly, shaking his head at her. "I'm not saying."
"That's a yes, then," she replied, smirking. "Did you ask him out again?"
"He asked me out again, if you must know," he responded, sighing again. "I'm the – er – lady…"
Bellatrix wasn't sure how to reply to that. She frowned. "So you…"
Antonin scowled at her. "Dark Lady or not, I'm not saying another word to you about that."
Bellatrix smiled, glancing over to Yaxley, who was pretending to talk to Narcissa but was obviously staring at both of them.
"Okay," Bellatrix replied, taking a sip of her wine. "So have you thought what you'd like to do?"
"Is there not some plan?" Antonin asked.
"No plan for you," she replied.
She could see him looking at Yaxley again. "Well, I don't really want to work at the Ministry," he said softly, looking back to her. "Because I want to date the First Secretary to the Minister, who will probably end up taking on half the duties of the Minister because he will be too busy in bed with his wife."
Bellatrix snorted. "Poor Maelor," she said.
"I can't exactly work under him, either."
Bellatrix snorted again. "Oh, I'm sure you could cope," she replied, waggling her eyebrows at him.
Antonin nudged her. "Shut up!" he hissed. "I didn't mean that." He was smiling though. "So I will do whatever you need me to do," he replied easily. "I suppose I'm looking at this as a chance to be happy."
"It is just that," Bellatrix replied, leaning forwards and kissing him on the cheek.
"Bella," Voldemort murmured.
"Yes, Tom?" she replied, and she was sure Antonin had heard her, but she knew Voldemort didn't mind now.
"Would you dance with me?"
Bellatrix smiled and nodded, before taking his hand and letting him lead her away from the huge table, where there was room for them to dance. He put his arm around her gently and Bellatrix took his hand. Then he was spinning them around and Bellatrix couldn't help but laugh.
"Remember that birthday party I threw for you?" Bellatrix said.
"The one you promised you wouldn't throw for me, you mean?" he replied, laughing quietly.
"Well, it was a new year party really," she replied. "This reminds me of then."
"But this is better?"
"Much better," Bellatrix said, smiling happily. She rested her head on his shoulder, breathing in his scent. "I love you, Tom."
"I love you too, Bella," he replied, pressing a kiss on the top of her head. "Always." They slow danced in silence for a while longer, before hearing her name being called. She turned around and saw Lucius and Narcissa standing nearby. She glanced up to Voldemort before moving closer to them.
"We have an answer for you," Lucius said, his voice soft. He glanced to Narcissa, who nodded reassuringly at him. "We'd like to stay, if you'll have us still."
Bellatrix held her composure. She couldn't go dancing around them in excitement any more; she had to maintain an illusion, at least, of someone perfectly in control.
"We would be lost without you both," Voldemort said, smiling slightly. "I know things will never be the same for you. They won't be for us, either," he said, beckoning to Bellatrix. "We've all lost a lot."
Narcissa's eyes look a little teary. Bellatrix pulled her away. "Narcissa," she said, quietly and urgently. "You've got to trust me when I say things are different now. My husband has changed."
"No one can just change overnight like that, Bellatrix," Narcissa replied, her voice cold.
"Yes they can," Bellatrix argued. "Look, I can't tell you exactly what happened because… You'd be horrified. But what I can tell you is that something made him the way he was when he came back, and that somethinghas been replaced with something better."
Narcissa was staring at her, slightly suspiciously. "You are not making sense," she said after a moment.
"I am," Bellatrix replied. "Just try it, for a year, or something."
"A lot can happen in a year," Narcissa said, looking down at her hands. Then she looked back up at Bellatrix. "You did a lot for Draco, didn't you?"
Bellatrix shrugged slightly. "I did the best I could with the little influence and leverage I had, yes, of course – as any Aunt would."
Narcissa nodded. "Well, I will give this a try for one year, but if anything else happens to Draco…"
"I promise, Draco will go back to Hogwarts, will be Head Boy and will leave with all outstandings," Bellatrix said.
Narcissa smiled at her. "What is to be done with Hogwarts? Last year under Snape… Even Draco said it was bad."
Bellatrix nodded. "Well, you can do what you want with it."
Narcissa's eyes were wide. "What do you mean?"
"You're an amazing mother," Bellatrix said quietly. "You'd be an amazing Headmistress."
Her jaw dropped open. "Me?" she squealed, her voice high pitched. "I don't know a thing about teaching!"
"It's not about teaching," Bellatrix replied, grinning. "It's about order and finding the best teachers we can. Please say yes. We don't have anyone with the humility and care that you have – and we really need that."
"The children need guidance," she said, softly. "I gladly accept, Bellatrix."
Bellatrix grinned, turning back to Voldemort. "She said yes!" she called to him. He turned to face them, smiling.
"Glad to hear it," he replied. Lucius was smiling at Narcissa, obviously Voldemort had just been telling him what Bellatrix was asking. Then he slowly moved towards her, taking her hand. Bellatrix could hear them murmuring together. Smiling, she moved back to Voldemort, who pulled her back into his arms and started dancing with her again.
"We just need to find something for Antonin," she said, sighing lightly.
"There's plenty of things he can be doing. He could head the Law Enforcement Office if he wanted."
"He doesn't fancy the Ministry, just Maelor," Bellatrix replied, laughing a bit.
Voldemort smirked down at her. "Well, we need someone loyal to work as head of our security detail."
"Do you think that's necessary?" Bellatrix asked, frowning as he twirled her.
"Very necessary," Voldemort replied, coming to a standstill. He pressed his hand against her cheek, forcing her to look up at him. "If anything happened to you now… Bella, I think I would have to die with you."
Bellatrix smiled up at him, before standing on her toes and kissing him on the lips. Then he swooped down onto her and was kissing her with such passion, she thought she might need new knickers soon. Then he closed his arms around her and pulled her tightly into his arms.
"I love you, so much," he whispered into her ear. "I don't understand how I lived without you for the last sixteen years."
Bellatrix could feel tears forming in her eyes. "Well, we managed it somehow. We'd better make up for it now."
He smiled and kissed her briefly, before going back to their dance. Bellatrix was suddenly very aware of most of the room staring at them, for which she didn't think she could blame them. "So will you ask Antonin?" he asked, after a moment. "I'd feel better if it was him. I know he is very loyal to you, even if he does not care so much for me at the moment."
"Of course," Bellatrix replied. "And I think he is just as loyal to you."
Voldemort let go of her. "Go and ask him. I'd better have a discussion with Yaxley anyway." Holding her hand, he led her back to the table, ensured she had enough wine and beckoned to Yaxley, who followed Voldemort to the side of the room. Bellatrix smiled at Antonin as she sat down.
"You two are disgustingly in love," Antonin said quietly. "We were all feeling sick just a minute ago."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "Babies."
"Do you trust him?" Antonin asked, very quietly now. "I've seen how he can be with you."
"I trust him, Antonin," Bellatrix replied. "I can't tell you why, but I do trust that we will be happy now."
Antonin nodded. "It's going to be a hard few years."
"Yes," Bellatrix said, sipping her wine. "We're going to be hated for some time. We will have to show the world that people do not have to live in fear." She looked up at him. "We need someone to take charge of our security," Bellatrix said. "We hoped it might be you."
Antonin looked surprised. "Me?" he asked. "I really don't think that the Dark Lord would trust me with something so important."
Bellatrix grinned. "You wouldn't believe how highly he talks of you."
"No, I wouldn't," Antonin replied, his eyebrows high. "It would be an honour, of course." He looked at her carefully. "What would it entail?"
"I'd just need to have a couple of people around me, while we are out and at the Ministry. We can't defend ourselves if we don't know it's coming."
Antonin nodded. "So the Dark Lord wants help too?"
"Yep," Bellatrix replied. "So we need you to find some decent people to form a team."
"I'll do it on one condition," Antonin replied, grinning at her. "I want to be on your team. You're more of a risk, Bellatrix. If you die, I die and you know it."
Bellatrix smirked. "Well, yes, he would be pretty irritated," she replied. "What makes you think I wouldn't kill you if my husband died?"
Antonin shook his head. "I doubt anyone will target the Dark Lord, you will seem like a far easier target."
"Well, I hope to prove that wrong," Bellatrix replied. She knew she could equal the Dark Lord again if she put some more effort into it. She decided that she would start getting him to duel her again, now she was starting to feel better.
Voldemort had returned and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Have you asked?" he said.
Bellatrix looked up at him, nodding. Then she looked to Antonin.
"I have accepted your offer, my Lord," Antonin replied, nodding his head slightly. "It is an honour to be asked. I shall begin work first thing tomorrow."
Voldemort nodded, moving around from behind Bellatrix and sitting down. "Perhaps you could use some of the former Minister's staff," he said, and Bellatrix could hear the smirk in his voice. No doubt Thicknesse had been disposed of by now.
"I will thoroughly examine them," Antonin replied. "I have asked the Dark Lady if I might join her team to begin with," he continued. "I am concerned that she will be more of a target than you, my Lord."
"Possibly, yes," Voldemort said, nodding, and smirking very slightly at her. "Of course, we all know that the fairer sex are less skilled at defending themselves and require more protection."
Antonin snorted lightly, trying to hide his smile from her. Bellatrix shot them both a glare.
"Please don't be offended when I try to defend myself and miss and end up hexing you in the ass, Tom," she said, rolling her eyes. She caught sight of the look on Antonin's face when he heard the name, but she didn't comment on it. Everyone would have to get used to it now.
Voldemort laughed. "No, Bella, you have a very good aim. You know I am only asking for this because I am paranoid about losing you."
Bellatrix looked back to Antonin, and now it was her turn to smirk. He looked extremely uncomfortable. "Err – I'll report to you both tomorrow," Antonin said, standing up quickly and moving away.
"They will have to get used to us," Bellatrix said, grinning at her husband.
"They will indeed," Voldemort replied, leaning forwards and kissing her again. Bellatrix giggled as she could feel his hand rubbing her thigh through her dress. She couldn't wait for bedtime.
A few of weeks later, everything was going well. All positions had been filled and Bellatrix had plenty of things to be keeping her busy. It was wonderful, having such a filled life. She was not used to it and Voldemort was insistent she should take things easier. But Bellatrix couldn't bear to be inactive any longer, so she went against his wishes and spent a lot of time in their office in the Ministry.
Antonin was taking her care very seriously. He'd so far employed two guards for her and her husband, not that Voldemort was going to be seen dead with them. She wasn't surprised though. She knew he had only suggested it for himself in order to make the idea more appealing to her.
One of the guards was one of Draco's friends from school, Blaise Zabini. He hadn't wanted to return to Hogwarts, but had proven to be skilled with a wand and was a great believer in the cause. He never said very much, but Bellatrix didn't mind. He wasn't there to talk to her.
The other was an older man called Romaine Bulstrode. He had served Thicknesse, Scrimgeour and even Fudge for a little while in this job and knew what he was doing. He didn't really seem to care who he was looking out for, as long as he got paid. Antonin had seen to it that the man had received a considerable pay rise, and probably had lectured him about what would happen to him if anything happened to her.
Antonin had decided that there would always be one of them on duty, incase she decided to go somewhere unplanned, and always two for anything planned in her diary and for when she went to the Ministry.
Today was one of those days. Antonin had flooed into the Atrium first, followed by Bellatrix and then Bulstrode. There was immediately a lot of commotion as she was seen by everyone and the crowds descended. There were flashes of cameras and people shouting out questions to her.
Bellatrix stepped forwards, smiling a little to herself. She quite liked all of this attention. Antonin and Bulstrode were walking in front of her, clearing her way towards the lift. She could have floo'ed directly into the office, of course, but there was something quite nice about making herself seen by ordinary people.
She could suddenly hear someone calling her name. She tilted her head, looking out into the crowd and could see a disturbance as someone shoved through. She wasn't very used to hearing her name anymore as everyone was so scared and enthralled by her, that they used her title.
For a moment, she thought it was Andromeda. Then she realised who it was. Now being held back from her by Antonin and Bulstrode was Posey Parkinson.
Bellatrix stared at her for a long moment, and Posey stared back. She wasn't sure how to react. She started walking towards the open doors of the lift. At the last moment she looked at Antonin, and nodded slightly. Antonin didn't look at all happy.
"My Lady…" He began but Bellatrix cut him off with a shake of her head. Grudgingly, he lifted his arm and Posey kind of fell forwards towards Bellatrix.
"Wait here," she said to Antonin, before beckoning Posey into the lift. She was relieved when the doors were closed and they were travelling upwards. "You shouldn't have done that," she said quietly to Posey after a moment.
"I've been trying to track you down since you were released from prison," Posey replied, her voice shaking.
The doors opened. Bellatrix sighed as they stepped out. She opened the door to the main room of the office and beckoned for Posey to sit.
Posey shook her head, sitting down. Bellatrix poured herself a glass of firewhiskey and was about to take a gulp before she reconsidered, putting it down and then sitting as far away from Posey as she could.
"Last time we met, you said they were coming for me," Posey said, her voice slightly cold.
"They were," Bellatrix agreed, staring at the ceiling.
"They being you."
Bellatrix glanced over. Posey was staring at her hands. "I gave you fair warning."
"It helped us," Posey replied softly. "It gave us a few extra years together, although we were in hiding."
"Did you join the Order?" Bellatrix asked coolly.
"No," Posey said, shaking her head. "Galahad died in the end. He killed himself."
Bellatrix gasped, sitting up and looking at her. "Why?" she asked, shocked.
Posey shrugged. "Pressure from his family. Pressure from mine. We couldn't leave the house, we didn't know if you were coming or not. It drove him mad, and he killed himself with his own wand."
There was silence in the room.
"When was this?" she asked, her voice very quiet.
"Just before You-Know-Who vanished."
Bellatrix stood up, moving away. "I should have done more for you," she said.
"It was many years ago now," Posey said softly. "You tried to help us. I understand that you did what you could."
"Did I?" Bellatrix asked, turning around. "I got into so much trouble for what I did to help you. But he always came around in the end. I could have pushed harder."
"Bellatrix, it is the past. I am not here to stir up guilt," Posey said, standing up and moving closer. "I believe, in my heart, that you did what you could. I put you in an impossible situation. Galahad's death was not your fault. It wasn't anybodies fault. I am told it is likely he would have done this at some point regardless of the situation we were in. He had a disorder of the mind."
"Poor Galahad," Bellatrix replied softly.
There was silence for a while longer. "I've been looking for you for… years."
"What have you been doing with yourself?" Bellatrix asked.
"I got my inheritance shortly after," Posey said, her tone slightly brighter. "I've lived in comfortable seclusion ever since. I waited for the Dark Lord to come back – I always knew that he would – and I watched in anticipation for his move to release you from prison. He took longer than I expected."
Bellatrix forced a smile to her face. "He had to find a way to break me out," she said, knowing she sounded defensive.
Posey nodded back. "I tried to come to the house you lived in before, but I couldn't get in."
"Good wards," Bellatrix replied with a smirk.
"I knew that I'd be able to get to you, once you'd won."
"You thought we would win?" Bellatrix asked, narrowing her eyes slightly.
"I didn't see how you could lose," Posey replied. "As long as Harry Potter could be defeated."
"And why do you want to see me, anyway?" Bellatrix asked, frowning. "You could have carried on as usual, in your seclusion."
"I could have," Posey replied, nodding. "I nearly did. But I needed to see you again, Bellatrix. I think about you more than I do Galahad."
Bellatrix stared at Posey. "Why though?"
Posey shrugged. "You aren't dead. You didn't leave me when I needed you the most. We grew up together."
"My husband didn't trust you when he knew who you'd married," Bellatrix said quietly. "If I know anything about it, he's already on his way here. Antonin will have told him."
"That's a risk I understood," Posey replied. "Why would he trust me?"
"He should take my word for things now and again," Bellatrix replied levelly. "I trust you. As you said, we grew up together." She looked over at Posey, and smiled. "I'm glad you came, Posey."
"I am too," Posey said, smiling back. "Is that Antonin Dolohov working as your bodyguard?"
"Kind of, he's in charge of our security," Bellatrix said, smirking. "He's a friend."
"He did some bad things…"
"So did we all," Bellatrix replied, remember what she did to the Longbottom's. "For the greater good, Posey."
The doors burst open and Voldemort walked in, his eyes bright red. Antonin was just behind, looking a bit sheepish.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded, glaring at Posey.
Bellatrix stood up. "We were catching up, Tom," she said, approaching him carefully and kissing him on the cheek. "There is nothing to worry about."
"We need to speak," he said, his tone slightly cold, but when Bellatrix pulled back she could see his eyes turning back to blue.
Posey stood, heading towards them. "I'd better go," she murmured to Bellatrix, eying the Dark Lord fearfully over her shoulder.
"You know where to find me now," Bellatrix replied. "Owl me, or something."
"I will," Posey said, glancing over to the door. Then she hurried out of the room, with a hasty 'my Lord' as she passed Voldemort. The doors shut behind them and Bellatrix hoped Antonin was being nice.
"Bellatrix!" Voldemort snapped, now pouring firewhiskey into her used glass and downing it. "Must you always be so reckless?"
Bellatrix smirked at him. "Stop fussing, Tom. I told you, she's trustworthy. Her husband is dead, she's been living in seclusion for the last fifteen years."
Voldemort was still kind of glaring at her. "What did she want?"
"To be friendly," Bellatrix responded, taking the glass out of his hand and leading him to sit down. "She's been trying to track me down for years."
"Well, I have some news," Voldemort replied, pulling her to sit down next to him. "Andromeda Tonks was tracked down. She is the last remaining member of the Order."
"Oh." Bellatrix sat back in her seat. "Is she dead?"
"Yes," Voldemort replied. "It was quick. I ensured that."
Bellatrix looked over at him. "You?"
Voldemort nodded. "I had them bring her to me. I thought you'd prefer to know exactly how it was done. And… It was done quickly."
"All gone," Bellatrix said, after a moment of silent contemplation. "And err – did you dispatch someone to tell Narcissa?"
Voldemort grimaced. "No," he said, shaking his head. "I suppose we'd better."
"Perhaps not yet," Bellatrix said, shifting closer to him. "I might have some news too."
Putting his arm around her, Voldemort kissed her cheek. "To do with the new legislation?"
"Not quite, no," Bellatrix replied, taking hold of his hand and looking into his eyes. "I should have bled two weeks ago, and… I haven't." She could feel him stiffen slightly at her words. She opened her robes, revealing her tummy. "So, I wondered if you'd like to do the honours?"
Eyes wide, Voldemort sat up straight. He pulled out his wand and murmured the spell. Bellatrix wasn't sure when he had learned it, but she guessed he had been saving it up.
Her stomach glowed white.
They both gasped in surprise, before looking up at each other with massive grins on their faces. "Bella!" he said, leaning forward and placing little kisses on her tummy. "My love," he murmured as he moved up to kiss her on the lips.
"I knew it!" Bellatrix replied, throwing her arms around him. "This baby must have been conceived on the day we won our battle."
Voldemort squeezed her tightly. "It was meant to be," he whispered into her ear. "We must get you to a healer as soon as possible."
"Alright," Bellatrix replied, laughing at his eagerness.
"No, no, a healer can come to you. You're the Dark Lady. I'm the Dark Lord. The healer will come to us," he continued, pulling back to look at her tummy. "It's so flat, Bella. I can hardly believe there's a baby in there!"
Bellatrix giggled, pulling him back up to look at her. "Our baby will be like a tiny dot right now," she told him, hugging him again.
"You must stop work, immediately," he said, standing up.
"Tom, stop it," she replied, grabbing his hand and making him sit back down. "Stop it," she repeated, seeing him open his mouth to speak again. "I am fine. The baby will be fine, we have to carry on as usual for now until I start to show."
"Carry on as usual?" he asked incredulously. "How can we do that now?"
Bellatrix laughed. "If you fuss over me any more I will curse you. You know you can't curse me back now."
Voldemort sighed, pulling her back into his arms. "I will stop," he said. He kissed the top of her hair. "Bella, I didn't think I could be happier this morning, but right now I am even happier. I don't know how it's possible."
"You're a softie really," Bellatrix replied, giggling at him as he half glared.
"I will love you forever," he promised.
Bellatrix smiled and kissed him. She really did believe that he would love her, literally, forever.