Bellatrix was more nervous about tonight's party than any other she had been to. This time, it was hosted at her parent's house, guests that had been at Voldemort's party, along with her members of her family.
She and the Dark Lord were to arrive together. Posey had left two days previous, recovered after her brief fright that had taken place in the Manor. She was more wary of the Dark Lord than she had ever been before. Bellatrix was only marginally concerned about this; she couldn't exactly see Posey running off with a Gryffindor.
Bellatrix surveyed herself in the mirror one last time. Tonight's gown was different. It was black, long and straight, a silk, strapless gown until the long sleeves and neck, which were made from lace. Even her mother would approve of this one. She'd pulled her hair back into an elegant knot and wore simple black earrings as the only jewellery.
Voldemort entered. "Sweetheart, are you nearly ready?" he asked, going straight for his wardrobe to change.
"Closer to it than you," Bellatrix responded.
"I have only to change," Voldemort said with a grin. He finally looked at her properly. "Are you trying to prove you can be modest to me or something?"
"No, my Mother," she replied, making a face of disgust.
"Well, you look gorgeous." He stood behind her, his arms wrapped tightly around her waist. "In fact, I am glad. You look like the dutiful daughter. The very, very beautiful, dutiful daughter." He kissed the top of her hair and moved back to changing his robes.
"Thank you, darling," Bellatrix replied, feeling a lot better about the dress suddenly. She watched him dress, before walking towards him and kissing him lighting on the neck. "I want to kiss you," she murmured, looking into his eyes. "At midnight."
"And so you shall, my beloved," Voldemort replied, kissing her nose. "But for now, we need to go. I don't think arriving fashionably late is a good idea for this party."
Bellatrix grinned, taking his hand and kissing it. "I just hope there's no family drama's tonight. My sister isn't like us, after all."
Voldemort looked surprised. "Narcissa?"
The Dark Lord nodded. "I had forgotten about her. Perhaps she could be a threat."
Bellatrix glanced at him sharply. "What do you mean by that?"
"Nothing, beloved," Voldemort responded, squeezing her hand. He lent forwards, and kissed her briefly on the lips. "Come on, sweetheart." He led her out of the room, towards the Apparition point at the bottom of the grounds.
When they reached the Black's house, it was bustling with activity. House Elves were trying to complete the decorating, and setting the tables of food and drinks. Druella was running around crazily, shouting orders. She glanced in their direction, and came straight over. "Bellatrix, you're actually dressed suitably for once." She turned to the Dark Lord. "My Lord, it's wonderful to see you again."
Voldemort took her hand and kissed it. "Mrs Black, enchanting as ever. The house looks beautiful as well."
"Thank you," she said, before noticing something that wasn't perfect and rushing away to sort it out. Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "Lets get a drink, darling," she muttered, pushing him in the direction of parlour. When they entered, there were already a few members of her family in the room, Cygnus, Lucius, Narcissa, Andromeda (Wearing her usual sulky expression), Abraxas, Lucius's Father and a few others Bellatrix didn't know. Voldemort seemed to know them all, and he went straight over to them to talk.
Narcissa smiled at her, and instantly came to greet her. "I'm disappointed in the dress, Bellatrix," she said, grinning.
Andromeda came over. Bellatrix turned and stared at her. "Go and help Mother, Andromeda, we're having a private conversation here."
Andromeda glared, but did as she was told. Ever since Bellatrix had put the Cruciatus Curse on her, Andromeda had been deathly afraid of her older sister. Bellatrix smiled at Narcissa. "This dress is going to impress a lot of people tonight, mark my words," she said. "How's the guest list shaping up?" Narcissa drew her away from the other men, smiling excitedly.
"Very well. Lucius's Father has already expressed how delighted he is at the announcement of our marriage."
"So he should be," Bellatrix murmured appreciatively.
"Mother says all of her family, the Rosier's, will be here tonight, along with our Aunt and Uncle Black and our cousin Regulus."
Bellatrix smiled in delight. "Reggie is coming? How wonderful, I shall have to introduce him to the Dark Lord."
"Yes, his parents are very interested in getting him known, said Mother. Then there's the Bulstrode's, of course, Uncle Orion's brother and sister, and then that's as far as it gets for exciting. Mother said Sirius is refusing to come tonight; quite scandalous." Narcissa's eyes were wide, the very thought of dishonouring her family name was always a horrible suggestion to her.
"We are better off without him, sister," Bellatrix responded, glancing towards the drinks on the table. "What do you want?" she murmured softly to Narcissa, who looked surprised that Bellatrix was willing to sneak her a drink.
"White wine spritzer, please," she responded quietly. Bellatrix nodded, and headed towards the table, first pouring herself a glass of red wine, and then in a normal glass pouring white wine, topping it up with lemonade. She glanced up, noticing Voldemort's gaze on her. She smiled mischievously at him as he came towards her. "Two drinks, Miss Black?" he said in a hushed tone.
"You know exactly what I'm doing," she replied smiling at him.
"I didn't think you got on with your sisters," Voldemort said, pouring himself a glass from the bottle she was drinking.
"Narcissa's grown up recently," Bellatrix explained, butterflies in her stomach as he smiled at her.
Before either could say anything else, Abraxas Malfoy came over. Bellatrix smiled, and allowed him to kiss her hand. "Your young protégé grows more beautiful every time I see her, my Lord," he said to Voldemort.
The Dark Lord nodded, a smirk on his lips. "She does indeed, Abraxas. I often wonder why I am going to marry her off to one of my followers once she has completed her training and not keep her for myself."
Bellatrix smiled sweetly at him. "My Lord knows I will always do his bidding."
Voldemort chuckled as Abraxas lent closer to her. "I must thank you, Miss Black, I have heard that you were part of making the wedding between my son and your sister happen in good time." He exchanged a quick look with Voldemort, with made Bellatrix assume that Voldemort had told him what had happened.
"I work in the interests of my family, and for the welfare of our Pureblood society, Mr Malfoy," Bellatrix replied, and she could see Lucius scowling in the background. Clearly he didn't get on well with Abraxas. She wondered if Lucius was going to grow up and be just like his Father, with long, straight blond hair and a cane in which he stored his wand.
"You must call me Abraxas," he said, and Bellatrix knew this was a rare occasion, and that Abraxas Malfoy was not on first name terms with many people.
"And you must dance with me tonight," Bellatrix replied, smiling flirtatiously at him.
Voldemort stepped forwards, and kissed her hand. "My dearest," he said, and she heard a slight accent on the word 'my'. "Remember, the first dance is always mine."
Bellatrix nodded to him, smiling properly now. "Of course, my Lord, there is no other man who I could dare have my first dance with." She ducked her head slightly. "Excuse me, I must go back to my sister." Smiling, she turned, and walked back to her sister, and handed her the drink. "To the ball room," she said, grinning. Narcissa followed her.
"Mr Malfoy seems to like you," she said. "Or Papa, as he now says I must call him."
"Darling, you're an important woman now. You're a Black, and a Malfoy. Two most pure families."
Bellatrix paused as they entered the Ball Room. She'd never seen it this way before, it looked stunning. Silver decorations hung in every direction, huge tables were filled with beautiful looking food, cloth of silver on every flat surface, candle sticks floating around the room. "Mother has been working on this since Boxing Day," Narcissa muttered. "Can't you tell." The room was almost half full already.
Suddenly, Bellatrix found a man attached around her neck. "Reggie!" she said loudly as she noticed his unmistakable long hair. He stepped back from her, grinning. He was so good looking, ten years her senior, every woman he met wanted him.
"My, Trixy, haven't you grown!" said Regulus, looking her up and down.
"Don't call me that," she said, slapping his arm, laughing slightly.
"Ooh, of course, you're too important for all of that now," he said, grinning. "What's this I hear about you being trained up?"
"What's this I hear about you being interested in joining a certain club?" Bellatrix replied quickly.
"More what my parents want," Regulus replied, grinning lazily. "Since I haven't got a Ministry job, they think I should be doing something with a purpose."
"They're right," Bellatrix replied smiling.
"Don't you start as well, baby cousin," Regulus said, rolling his eyes. "I've said I'll join up. It's got to be worth it."
"It is, Reggie," Bellatrix said. "I will introduce you to Him later on." Leaving Narcissa to talk to her cousin, Bellatrix headed over to the table of food. Rodolphus Lestrange was already helping himself.
"Mr Lestrange," Bellatrix said, nodding to him.
"Bellatrix!" he said startled, jumping back. He stared at her dress. "You look... Fantastic..."
Bellatrix smiled. "Thank you, Rodolphus," she murmured. "Thought this dress is not what I would like to be wearing, but it keeps Mother happy."
"Of course," Rodolphus said, softly, bowing his head slightly. "But it suits you very well, if you do not mind my saying."
"Not at all," Bellatrix replied. "I expect I shall dance with you later tonight."
Rodolphus nodded, and Bellatrix couldn't help but think it was a tad eager.
Bellatrix was slightly merry by the time she was on her fourth dance with the Dark Lord. It was almost midnight, and she was very excited about seeing the new year in with her beloved Voldemort by her side. Abraxas Malfoy has already danced with her twice, much to Lucius's disgruntlement. Once again, she was receiving a lot of attention, much to her Father's delight, and much to her Andromeda's disgust.
"You're a credit to me," said Voldemort quietly to her, as they moved around in quick circles. "Everyone is commenting on it. Everyone wants something to do with you."
Bellatrix smiled. "You know what I want?" Voldemort shook his head. "I just want you."
The Dark Lord nodded. "A few more months, my love, I promise. And then you can have me, every night."
With a sigh, Bellatrix nodded. "Few more months," she muttered. The dance ended, and the clock began to chime. Voldemort grabbed her wrist, and dragged her towards the garden where they could be alone. The guests inside began to count down, but Bellatrix and Voldemort simply stared at each other for the final four seconds that were left in the year 1968. On the last moment, as the cheers erupted inside, their lips met, in a slow, warm kiss.
"ANDROMEDA!" came a sudden, loud scream from inside. It was her mother's voice. The room fell silent. Hastily, Bellatrix pulled away from Voldemort and ran back inside. Andromeda had her arms around a boy with sandy hair, Druella was staring, horrified. Simultaneously, Cygnus, Narcissa and Bellatrix walked towards where the scene was taking place. Clearly, Andromeda had just been kissing the boy.
"Who is this?" Cygnus demanded angrily. "Your boyfriend?"
"Yes," Andromeda said defiantly, her dark gaze fixed on her father's. The boy looked vaguely scared. Bellatrix suddenly recognised him.
"What do you think you're doing, Andromeda?" she asked, stepping forwards, very aware of all the guests watching. "Father, this is Ted Tonks, a Gryffindor in Narcissa's year, and a Mudblood." The guests around them all gasped, and there were murmurs from around the room. Bellatrix realised Voldemort was stood behind her, watching the scene with cool indifference, but she could tell he was concerned really because he had his wand out.
"Leave!" Druella shouted at Tonks. The boy faltered, looking at Andromeda for advice.
"Meda..." he murmured.
"I'll be fine," she said, softly to him, confirming with a nod. Slowly, Tonks moved away from the Black family, casting each member a frightened look, before running as fast as he could, out into the garden.
"Do you want me to kill him?" Voldemort murmured in Bellatrix's ear.
"I think my sister is going to be the one to die," Bellatrix muttered back, her eyes not leaving Andromeda's shaking form for a second.
"Can I not invite my own guests to a party, taking place in my own home?" Andromeda demanded angrily.
"Not someone like him," Cygnus replied, his own wand out.
"What's wrong with him?" Andromeda retorted. Bellatrix hissed angrily.
"Into the parlour, now," Druella said to Andromeda, her voice very cold. She cast Bellatrix and Narcissa a look. "You two as well." Nodding briefly to Voldemort, Bellatrix followed her Mother and her two sisters into the parlour.
As soon as the door was shut, her Mother's gaze was on Bellatrix and Narcissa. "I hope that you two didn't know about this," she said grimly.
"I wouldn't tell those two about it anyway," Andromeda said rudely.
Bellatrix shook her head. "I am disappointed. You should be blasted from the family tree for this. You and Sirius make a fine pair."
Andromeda stared at her sister. "You!" she said, laughing slightly. "You need to get down off of that high horse you're on. You think you're so much better than anyone else. In fact, everyone at this party thinks that they are better than everyone else. It's disgusting. I don't want-"
"That's enough." Cygnus had entered the room. Andromeda wasn't brave enough to cross him. She decided to glare at the floor. "Go to your room. You will stay there for the rest of the holidays."
Sulkily, Andromeda did as she was told. As soon as the door was firmly closed, Cygnus spoke again. "Is there nothing you can do?" he said, looking at Bellatrix.
"She has always loathed me," Bellatrix replied, her voice thick.
The door opened and Voldemort came in, followed by Lucius. Bellatrix walked straight into Voldemort's arms, trying not to let tears spill from her eyelids. She had failed her family by not ensuring Andromeda had made it to Slytherin. Voldemort held her close, stroking her hair soothingly. Bellatrix was certain he knew what she was thinking; he knew her best out of anyone else in the entire world.
"Andromeda is a failure," said Druella in a hard voice. "We have failed."
"You mustn't be so hard on yourself," came Voldemort's soft voice. "Two of your girls are perfect examples of how a Pureblooded young lady should conduct herself. I for one do not feel let down by your family in the slightest."
"Your views are of great importance to us," said Cygnus wearily. He sounded tired to Bellatrix, so she turned around, and hugged him instead.
"I must see to the guests," said Druella, and Bellatrix was momentarily annoyed that her mother cared more about their guests then her daughter.
"I'll come with you," said Narcissa quietly, following her mother with Lucius. Bellatrix noticed that Lucius was holding her hand, and knew from that he was falling in love with her sister. In itself, that cheered her up.
"I don't know what I would do without you, Bellatrix," Cygnus said quietly, squeezing her slightly.
"I find myself saying that a lot of the time too," said Voldemort, pouring three glasses of brandy. "Drink this. You've had a shock." He passed one to Cygnus, one to Bellatrix, and kept one for himself.
"Thank you," Cygnus murmured, raising his glass. "To Bellatrix."
"To Bellatrix," Voldemort replied.
Bellatrix bowed her head, still fighting back the tears. She knew that one day soon they were going to loose Andromeda. And while she didn't like the girl, she was still her sister. This matter was not going to be forgotten in a hurry.
Bellatrix strolled confidently into the Dark Lord's office a couple of days after Andromeda's disloyalty had come to a head, ignoring the looks all the other Death Eaters, waiting for their chance to speak with their Master, were giving her. Though a lot of the men were helplessly in love with her, a fair few felt threatened by her presence as they felt she would steal their chances of glory. They all knew she already exceeded them in power, and that she would always remain the Dark Lord's firm favourite. This meant Bellatrix was never nervous around them, and had nothing to fear from them. The Dark Lord's word was law, and no one would ever go against his wishes unless they wanted to face severe pain.
Voldemort glanced up, wondering who had dared enter his office without being called, then seeing it was Bellatrix looked back down to his work. "I thought you were busy today, sweetheart," he said, dipping his quill into his ink pot and continuing to write.
Bellatrix nodded. "You've actually forgotten, haven't you," she stated, sitting down in front of his desk.
"Forgotten what?" Voldemort asked irritably, with a sigh. "Bella, I am extremely busy."
"I go back to school tomorrow." She sat back in the chair, arms crossed, staring at him.
Voldemort looked up, and then hastily put his quill down, cursing quietly under his breath. "I have grown so used to your presence, I am tempted to keep you here." Bellatrix's eye's lit up for a moment. "It is not possible," Voldemort said quietly to her. "Your Father has already lost one daughter this week, and doesn't need to loose another." Bellatrix sighed lightly, but nodded. "How about you go and tell the elves we will dine alone in my private rooms tonight," he added, with a small smile in her direction. He knew how she liked to have him all to herself.
Bellatrix grinned, and jumped up. "Thank you," she said, leaning over his desk and kissing him on his cheek, before diving speedily out of the room to make preparations for their last night together. Voldemort sighed gently, he really was going to miss her, and he knew it was going to be a longer parting this time; news he still had to break to Bellatrix.
When Bellatrix entered the Dark Lord's dinning room, she was surprised to see him already in there, changed in his best robes. She was even more surprised to see that the room was lit by hundreds of candles, all suspended over the dinning table, creating a lot of shadows that most would have found frightening, but Bellatrix thought it was beautiful. She was relieved that she had changed into a exquisite gown, black, and completely backless. The Dark Lord usually hated it when she wore anything that sexy when the rest of the men were present, but tonight... He was staring at her with pure lust in his eyes.
Bellatrix stepped further into the room, pausing for a moment to curtsy to him. Voldemort beckoned her to him impatiently.
"Why do you have to be so flawless?" he asked, as she took his hand and sat down next to him.
"Forgive me," Bellatrix murmured, her eyes fixed on Voldemort's. The Dark Lord lifted her hand to his lips.
"Never," he murmured, before placing a soft kiss on her hand. Bellatrix resisted the urge to shiver. "Are you hungry?" Voldemort asked, while pouring her wine.
"Yes," she responded. "These candles are charming."
Voldemort nodded, and tapped his wand on the table. Instantly a huge feast appeared, a whole roast chicken, tureens of stuffing, potatoes, vegetables and pots of gravy. "They make this room look very creepy," he said, beginning to help himself. "I thought you would appreciate it."
"You know me so well."
"Not well enough," Voldemort responded, and Bellatrix was very aware of his eyes lingering on her breasts for a moment. Bellatrix couldn't help but shudder that time around. "Are you cold?"
"Not at all," Bellatrix murmured, her eyes downcast. She took her plate of food, and began to eat, wishing this wasn't their last meal together for a couple of months.
"I have something to tell you," Voldemort began, wishing with all his heart he didn't have to say this. Bellatrix was instantly alert, one eyebrow raised, staring at him.
"Yes?" she asked, suspiciously, thoughts of cheating and deception running through her head.
"The moment has called once more, where I need to travel abroad," the Dark Lord said, painfully aware that she was likely to get upset.
"Oh." She was silently, looking back to her plate as she slowly cut her meat. "For how long?" she asked, now looking back to him.
"I am not sure, but there is a lot I need to do, I should say six months at least." He looked carefully at her, judging her expression. Bellatrix had a wonderful talent for hiding her emotions, something that he admired very much in a person, even though sometimes it was no use to him.
"So you will be back on the day that I leave school?" Bellatrix inquired softly, her eyes still blank, as she looked up at him.
"There is nothing that can or will keep me from that day," Voldemort replied, nodding to her.
Bellatrix's face broke into a smile. "Then I am happy. That day is quite possibly one of the most important, and special, days of my life."
"I'm not sure about that." Voldemort lent towards her and kissed her briefly on the lips. "I can think of many more occasions which merit greater excitement than leaving school."
Bellatrix glanced sharply at him, trying not to laugh. He was gazing at her breasts again. "I'm up here, darling," she said, and now she was laughing.
"What?" Voldemort said, his tone innocent. "I do not know what you are speaking of."
"I'm sure you do," Bellatrix responded, still smiling. "In repayment, I want some wine, please," she added, grinning.
Voldemort sighed, and reached for the bottle and a glass. "Are you aware I have not been spoken to like that for a great many years?"
"It'll do you good," Bellatrix replied, laughing again as he passed her the drink. "Thank you."
"My pleasure," Voldemort said, returning to his dinner. "I have never spoken to a Lady so beautiful as you, so I think I may be inclined to forgive you."
"You are very kind," Bellatrix replied, chuckling. She took a sip of her wine, savouring it's delicious taste. Wine was very important to the Dark Lord; he was always well stocked up on expensive bottles, and Bellatrix knew she was going to miss it greatly over the next six months.
A few minutes later, once they had both finished eating, Voldemort raised his goblet, and Bellatrix, with a small smile, repeated the gesture herself. "To your graduation," he said softly.
Bellatrix's smile widened. "To our next meeting." She finished the glass and set it down on the table gently.
"What is your first lesson on your return?" the Dark Lord asked, reaching for the bottle and refilling her glass.
"Potions, unfortunately. I always hate having potions first thing on a Monday, Slughorn is always dreadfully cheery, while the rest of us feel we should still be in bed." She continued to drink.
"Slughorn was my teacher, you know," Voldemort said quietly. "He taught me one of the best things I ever learned."
"What, Potions?" Bellatrix asked incredulously.
"Of course not," Voldemort responded. "I will teach it to you, one day, I promise, beloved."
Bellatrix nodded, watching as he poured himself more wine, and began to drink. She could feel herself beginning to get slightly tipsy. "Can I ask you something?"
Voldemort glanced at her, before nodding. "Yes, sweetheart?"
"Why did you not tell my Mother I was to stay in the room, on Christmas Day?" It had been bothering her, and she needed to know now, rather then wait six months to find out.
"For a number of reasons," Voldemort replied. "Come here." Bellatrix picked up her glass, and walked around the table towards him, about to kneel at his feet before he stopped her, and pulled her onto his lap. "For one, it is not my house, therefore not my rules. Secondly, I would also prefer that whilst you remain at Hogwarts, you do not know about what is going on in my world. You are very close to Dumbledore every day, my greatest enemy." He paused, a took a sip of his wine. "Not to mention the fact you are completely untrained in the ways of Occlumency and Legilimency, something in which Dumbledore excels at."
"He will already know that I support you," Bellatrix added on, reaching for the bottle and emptying it into her glass.
"Of course he does," Voldemort replied, opening a new bottle with a wave of his hand. "Which is why I want you to keep a low profile for the rest of the year. Focus on your studies."
Bellatrix nodded. "I know I can be cheeky, but I want you to know that I hold you in the highest respect possible, and I will always obey you."
The Dark Lord glanced down at her in surprise. "Where did that come from?" he asked.
"I wanted you to know how much I respect you," Bellatrix murmured, her eyes fixed on his. "I love you. This is going to be such a long six months."
"I love you too, sweetheart," Voldemort replied, leaning into a kiss. "I promise I shall write at least twice a week, more if I can. I'm going to miss you terribly." Their lips met, and stayed together for longer this time, passion increasing. Bellatrix smiled up at him when they finally pulled apart.
"What do you want to do, Bella?" Voldemort murmured.
"Right now?" At Voldemort's nod, she grinned. "I want to keep drinking."
"You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow," the Dark Lord reminded her.
"You said that last time," Bellatrix reminded him. "Only back then, I was more scared of you then I am now."
Voldemort laughed at that, and he continued to as she reached for the bottle of wine once more. "You win," he said, claiming her lips ferociously. "Let us remove ourselves into the next room, I believe there is a greater choice in there." Wrapping his arms around her neck, he lifted her effortlessly into his arms and carried her into the sitting room, placing her on the sofa. "By the time I finish making this drink, I expect to see that wine bottle empty, or I will punish you."
Bellatrix snorted. "You're on." Taking the top to her lips, she began to drink the remains at the bottom of the bottle, finishing just as he turned around, three glasses in his hands.
"Well done," Voldemort said, grinning, and handed her a glass of very dark liquid. "And here is your reward."
Bellatrix surveyed the glass. "It looks more like a punishment."
"It could be either." Voldemort smirked. "Down it, please, Miss Black." He raised his own glass of the liquid, before they simultaneously swallowed the drink. Bellatrix coughed, her throat was burning.
"What the hell was that?" she asked, sitting up slightly. The sitting room began to spin slightly, so she laid back down.
"Black Firewhiskey," Voldemort replied. "Frightfully expensive. It's the hardcore stuff."
"Enough to kill a girl," Bellatrix muttered.
"Not you, sweetheart," Voldemort replied, drinking his second drink hastily, before turning to her. Bellatrix leaned in and kissed him gently on the lips, the kiss then deepening into a passion filled embrace. "Perhaps..." Voldemort's hand found its way into her long chocolate hair. "We should take this to the bedroom?"
Bellatrix giggled, kissing him as he lifted her into his arms once more, and took her into the bedroom.
Did they or didn't they – What a question!