Bellatrix awoke to an empty bed the next morning, her head pounding and her mouth dry. She moaned softly, sitting up blinking, glad the curtains were still tightly shut. She wondered where the Dark Lord had got to on such an important day. The only thing was, she couldn't remember why it was important... With a jump, she suddenly realised that she was going back to Hogwarts today. She groaned again unhappily.
Bellatrix sulkily reached for the glass of water that was left on the bedside table, before noticing a note folded neatly on the table, neat writing forming her name on the front of the page. Hastily, she reached for it, opening it carefully so that it would not crease.
Something came up. It's half past five in the morning. I think I may still be slightly drunk, in all honesty. Meet me for breakfast at nine, try and have everything ready so that the last two hours can be purely about us.
Bellatrix smiled at the idea of the Dark Lord being drunk whilst out with his Death Eaters on an important mission. She wondered what had happened, but knew she wasn't going to find out today. She got out of bed, and started to get ready, trying to ignore the pain in her head. At almost nine O' clock, she was ready, and headed down the stairs to find Voldemort. Half way down the staircase, she heard him barking orders, and he didn't sound particularly happy.
"Lestrange! Get yourself back to the Ministry and find out how much they know about this mornings work." Bellatrix reached the bottom of the stairs in time to see Rodolphus Lestrange bow hastily. Noticing Bellatrix, he looked up, and she could see how Rodolphus's face lit up when he saw her. "Now, Lestrange!" Voldemort shouted. Rodolphus bowed again, and turned on his heel, walking out of the house as quickly as he could.
Bellatrix walked towards the Dark Lord slowly, one eyebrow raised questioningly. "Bella..." His expression had softened slightly. "I have one more thing to deal with, wait for me in the breakfast room." Bellatrix nodded, watching as Voldemort walked away with a few people towards the dungeons, leaving her with Lucius, who was smirking at her.
"You and the Dark Lord seem pretty close," he said slyly, walking towards her. Bellatrix looked up at him, eyes narrowed. Lucius knew too much for her liking. He'd already seen her with her arms around the Dark Lord as he comforted her, on New Years Eve.
"Yeh, and you're going to keep your mouth shut about it," Bellatrix responded angrily.
"Calm down, fiery one," Lucius replied with a smirk at her. "I was only commenting... We are nearly family, after all." He stared at her knowingly.
"Lucius, you have a reputation for being a cold, uncaring bastard," said Bellatrix coolly.
"I do indeed," Lucius replied, and he almost sounded proud about it.
"So you better watch yourself, because you're falling in love with my sister, and that's enough to damage your precious reputation," Bellatrix said, and now it was her turn to smirk.
Lucius stared at her. "She is quite unlike any woman I have ever met," he said softly.
"Why, because she doesn't spend her life chasing after you?" Bellatrix laughed. "Go on, Lucius, run along, you know you're desperate to go and see her off, you just don't want anyone else to see you doing it."
Lucius shot her a glare, but turned around sharply anyway. Bellatrix entered the breakfast room, and helped herself to coffee, waiting for the Dark Lord. He returned quickly. When he did, Bellatrix noticed that there was a long, reddish stain running down the front of his robes. "What's that?" she asked. Voldemort looked down and cursed softly, before running his fingers lightly down the stain. It slowly faded away.
"Is that your blood?" Bellatrix asked, concerned.
"No, sweetheart," he replied quietly, taking a cup of coffee. "We discovered a traitor, it's all dealt with now... Well, will be shortly." He smirked. Bellatrix assumed that this meant the person was still being slowly killed. "You'll be doing all this, fully into it, this time next year," Voldemort continued.
Bellatrix sighed. "I know." She glanced down at her coffee.
"Eat," Voldemort ordered her softly. Bellatrix looked up at him, and saw a small smile on his lips as he watched her. "You look rough."
Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "Thank you, that's such a nice thing to say." Shooting him half a glare, she reached for the plate of buttery, warm toast, and began to tuck in.
"I like to think we have a very open, honest relationship," Voldemort responded with a smirk. "You still look beautiful." Bellatrix fought hard to retain her smile, and Voldemort pretended not to see.
"When do you leave?" Bellatrix asked quietly, a few moments later.
"Tonight," Voldemort replied, looking at her from under his eyelashes. She was carefully studying the jam jar, not willing to make eye contact with him and get upset. "We'll be suffering together, I wouldn't worry."
Bellatrix snorted in a very unladylike fashion. "You're travelling around the world in a search for new Dark Magic, I would hardly call it suffering."
"Bella..." Voldemort said warningly. "We can't keep having this conversation..."
"I know," Bellatrix replied quietly, regretting her outburst already. They both finished their meals in contemplative silence, and then Voldemort stood up.
"Come to my office briefly," he said to her, a somewhat brighter smile on his face. Bellatrix stood up and kissed him as high as she could reach, just along the bottom of his chin. He chuckled. "No stilts today then?" he asked, referring to her usual very high shoes, which naturally weren't allowed at Hogwarts.
"Very funny," Bellatrix replied as they made their way up the stairs to the Dark Lord's study. The house was quiet now. "After school, the heels will never come off."
"Don't be ridiculous, you can't wear those while you're training or out on a mission."
"Watch me," Bellatrix replied smoothly, grinning at him. "There is a branch of magic you will never understand."
Voldemort glanced at her in surprise as they entered his office. "Oh, really?" he asked, doubtfully, opening a mahogany cupboard with numerous shelves inside, each supporting huge files and folders, and sheets of paper. Bellatrix pretended not to be looking, but she was desperately trying to see what was in there really.
"It's called women's magic," Bellatrix replied, sitting down on the desk after she realised she might as well just wait now. "Don't even ask," she said, as he turned around to look at her, with a smile on his face.
"Wasn't going to," Voldemort said, smirking. He pulled a folded rectangular piece of paper, yellowing slightly, from the shelf, and handed it to her. "Here."
Bellatrix unfolded it eagerly, and found herself slightly disappointed when it turned out to be a very old looking map of the world. One corner was ripped off completely. She looked back up at the Dark Lord. "What is this?" she asked quietly.
"Map of the world," Voldemort replied, turning back to the cupboard.
"Obviously," she muttered, but Voldemort didn't hear. He shut the door, and sat down next to Bellatrix.
"Let me show you." He sat the map on his lap, and moved his fingers over England. He lightly tapped somewhere over London, and the map suddenly changed into the area he had tapped, zoomed right in. Bellatrix could see beautiful pictures of landmarks, St Paul's Cathedral was there, Big Ben, and something labelled Buckingham Palace. "The Muggle Queen lives there," Voldemort said, pointing to the Palace. He slid his finger upwards, and the images changed. There was quite a large area with no houses or roads – it looked like a field was there. "That's where we are now, obviously it's unplottable..." He reached for his wand, and gently prodded the map with it. A small red light appeared, blinking occasionally. "And that is me," he said, grinning at her. "This will show you where in the world I am whenever you want to see. Just tap it with your wand." He began to fold the map back up again. "London has the most detail on it, I know the city like the back of my hand... The rest of the world is still fairly detailed though, I've done a lot of research for this."
Bellatrix smiled, and picked up the map, holding it closely to her chest. "Thank you... There's still so much I don't know about you."
The Dark Lord stood up, and set the map down on Bellatrix's lap, before moving in front of her, and kissing her briefly on the lips. "Be careful with that though... If it fell into the wrong hands..."
"I understand," said Bellatrix softly. She couldn't believe that in less than an hour, she wouldn't see him for six months. She put her arms around his waist, and rested her head against his chest. She could feel Voldemort's fingers gently caressing her hair.
"Are you alright?" Voldemort asked her softly. Bellatrix merely nodded. "If you don't count down the days, it goes faster. If you don't think about it..." Bellatrix nodded again, and sat back to look at him.
"There will be a lot to keep me busy, I wouldn't worry," Bellatrix replied, with more confidence then she actually felt.
"Good." Voldemort's lips touched her forehead briefly. "Come on, we need to go." Bellatrix nodded. She picked up her shiny red handbag, opening it. Her shrunken trunk was inside. "Got everything?"
"Yep," Bellatrix responded lightly, trying to smile. Her hangover really wasn't helping this situation. She put the map carefully into her bag, and then snapped it shut. "Right." She glanced at Voldemort. His face was impassive.
"Here's the portkey." Silently, Bellatrix placed her hand on the small silver compass Voldemort had laid on the table. A few seconds later, it turned a glowing blue, and they were transported to King's Cross. Bellatrix hardly noticed the Muggle's around them. The Dark Lord was staring at them in dislike. Platform's nine and ten were looming.
Before she knew it, Bellatrix was stood on Platform Nine and Three Quarters, steam puffing from the train, almost ready to leave. Voldemort's hand closed around hers. "Sweetheart, I promise you this will be fine," he whispered into her ear.
"I know," Bellatrix responded, turning to him, and smiling, really meaning it now. She knew that in six months, ultimate happiness would await her. She reached up, and kissed him gently on the cheek. Over his shoulder, she could see Lucius and Narcissa stood closely together, and Lucius was staring at Bellatrix with a knowing smirk. Scowling at him, Bellatrix pulled away.
"If you need anything, owl me, and I shall do my best to give it to you," Voldemort murmured in her ear, his hand in her hair. "I love you."
"I love you too," Bellatrix whispered back.
"I will await your owl," Voldemort said, as he took a step back from her. Slowly, he released his grip on her hand, and Bellatrix nodded, smiled and turned on her heel, stepping onto the train. As she walked down the inside of the train, through the windows she could see Voldemort watching her for a while, before turning to Lucius, and beckoning him towards him. Lucius followed, glancing over his shoulder once more to Narcissa. At the last moment, his gaze caught Bellatrix's through the window, and he nodded to her, almost understandingly. Bellatrix knew that he was loyal to the Dark Lord, and that would never change.
Bellatrix continued down the corridor on the train, knowing that somewhere Posey and her other friends would have saved her seats. Straight ahead of her, she noticed Sirius and his friends heading her way. She rolled her eyes, but continued walking. Potter nudged Sirius as he saw her, and Sirius looked her way. "Bellatrix," he said, nodding coldly to her.
"Sirius," Bellatrix replied just as coldly, before pushing past the four of them. There had always been something odd about that Lupin, she just couldn't quite put her finger on it-
"Andromeda told me what you did."
Bellatrix stopped dead, before turning around to face Sirius. "Excuse me?"
"The Cruciatus Curse." Sirius didn't look scared, even though he was a two years younger than her.
Bellatrix chuckled. "I hope you aren't trying to threaten me, Sirius... You and my sister are in enough trouble as it is. Myself, Narcissa and Reggie think that it's time for a little bit of blasting to be done."
"We're his family," Potter snarled, stepping forwards, pulling out his wand. Bellatrix rolled her eyes, and with a flick of her wrist, Potter's wand had soared from his hand, into her own. Shaking her head, she threw it down onto the floor, and continued her journey down the train. She didn't have to walk far to find Posey. Entering the cabin, the girls grew silent, all looking up at her. "Hi," she said, as they all moved up so she could sit next to Posey. There were words of acknowledgment, but Bellatrix wasn't interested. She rested her thumping head on the table, and shut her eyes.
"What's up with you?" Posey asked her, eyebrows raised.
"Too much wine," Bellatrix replied. "And Firewhiskey."
The girls snickered. Bellatrix rolled her eyes.
"We heard about your sister," said Marella Rosier, straight to the point as usual. Bellatrix glanced at the girl, coldly.
"Indeed," she said. Marella looked nervous, Bellatrix was well known for her temper and ability to cast the best curses. No one in Slytherin wanted to get on her bad side. The only person that ever argued with her in public was Lucius Malfoy when he had been at Hogwarts. They had always been the leaders of the gangs – Bellatrix of the females, and Lucius of the males. Both had exceptionally clean pureblood lines, and both were cold, good looking, rich and powerful. No one could compete with them. No one wanted to try.
There was silence in the carriage now. Bellatrix was too hung over to care. She rested her head on the window, watching the outskirts of London pass them by. Usually, she would be holding court, in charge and centre of attention, but today she couldn't be bothered. Her mind wondered.... Back to the events of the previous night. They'd had such a lovely meal, and then spent the night drinking. Granted, she couldn't remember much...
Suddenly, a thought hit her. Her last recollection was of Voldemort suggesting they should take things to the bedroom. Panic set in. It would have been unprotected... Which would have been a huge risk, since Bellatrix wasn't going to sleep with anyone else until she was married, so she no longer took her contraception potion.
Bellatrix frowned. Surely the Dark Lord, even in a drunken state, wouldn't be so stupid. She pushed the thought from her mind. She'd woken up in her nightdress, nothing would have happened.
She jumped as a hand touched her arm, and turned around, before realising it was Posey.
"What are you so jumpy for?" Posey asked, a smirk on her face. "How much actually did you drink last night?"
"There were quite a few empty bottles this morning," Bellatrix admitted softly.
"Oh, how I envy you," Posey grinned. "Drinking with the Dark Lord..."
Bellatrix smiled. "You should be jealous about more than that!" They both burst into laughter, but were interrupted again.
"Bellatrix, your sister..." one of the girl said, sounding scandalised. Bellatrix's head shot up, half expecting to see Andromeda in the doorway, snogging the mudblood. Narcissa was stood in the doorway, surveying the scene coolly.
"Do you have a moment, sister?" Narcissa asked coldly, looking to Bellatrix, who nodded and stood up, removing herself from the cabin slowly. When the door was firmly shut behind them, Narcissa's iciness dropped instantly. "Andromeda is sat in a cabin full of Gryffindor and Hufflepuffs, our cousin and his friends included... Along with her boyfriend... When I walked past, they were kissing..." Narcissa looked ready to cry. "Our own sister, kissing a mudblood!"
Bellatrix sighed. "Write to mother and inform her. She'll be glad if it comes from you, I can't always be the dutiful daughter." Narcissa nodded slowly, but still looked upset. "Ciss, we can't do anything now. Andromeda has made her decision. It won't be long until she's blasted from the family tree. Give it until she's sixteen, and then..." She shook her head. "We can only hope that your marriage, and my high position with the Dark Lord will take the attention away from her. We must be careful what we say to her from now on."
Narcissa nodded again. "I know, Bellatrix... It's so difficult. I am so used to being able to confide in her... Well, not recently, of course," she added on hastily. "But when we were young."
"Well then, you had better begin to confide in me," Bellatrix responded coolly, slightly put out that Narcissa didn't think that Bellatrix could keep her secrets.
"I have started to," Narcissa responded, with a smile, not noticing Bellatrix's annoyance.
Bellatrix couldn't help but smile. "Would you like to sit with us?" she asked, after a moment. She knew Narcissa always wanted to be the centre of attention, and though that was Bellatrix's forte, she wanted to keep in it the family after she'd left.
Narcissa hesitated. "Are you sure..?" Bellatrix usually didn't want anything to do with either of her sister's during term time. She had always felt that she saw enough of them during the holidays but now... She knew how much she'd changed in the last few months. Narcissa mattered a lot to her. Narcissa was always so loyal, and that was something Bellatrix respected.
"I am sure." The two girls smiled at each other, and Bellatrix couldn't remember ever feeling like she wanted to be close to another woman like she did with Narcissa. They were about to go back into the cabin, when Bellatrix spoke once more. "You'll be my bridesmaid, right?" she asked cautiously.
"Only if you're mine," Narcissa replied, smiling. "And only if I can dance with the Dark Lord."
"You will be his Sister-in-law," Bellatrix responded, smirking. Narcissa's eyes widened, clearly she hadn't thought about that. "Come, we'll begin that letter to Mother. She'll be surprised if it comes from both of us."
Narcissa nodded, and followed Bellatrix into the cabin. "Ladies," Bellatrix said softly, and all the girls instantly stopped talking and looked up. "For those of you who have not met her, this is my sister, Narcissa. I hope you will all make sure she is looked after." Bellatrix's 'friends' were a mixture of Slytherin Pureblood girls, from different years. Some of them she genuinely liked, others she only put up with because of their blood status. And because her parents told her to. Once she had left Hogwarts, these girls would need a leader, and ice queen Narcissa was certainly the natural option, especially if she was then going to be a Malfoy.
"Is it true you're going to marry Lucius Malfoy?" asked Eedie Rookwood. Narcissa stared coolly at her, slowly raising an eyebrow. Bellatrix hid her smirk, thinking that Narcissa was going to make a great Malfoy. Narcissa clearly hadn't forgotten that Eedie's older sister had been rumored to be having an affair with Lucius when they had been in school together.
"Why, yes it is," Narcissa responded, as she sat down, icy as she usually was with people she didn't know.
"And you can tell your sister that," Bellatrix added, grinning. The difference between the two sisters was that the blonde was more subtle, where Bellatrix enjoyed to see people in discomfort.
Eedie coloured visibly, and sat back in her seat. Narcissa rolled her eyes in Bellatrix's direction, who merely smirked. Posey looked amused. "Are you looking forward to it?" Posey asked.
"I suppose so. He's quite good looking," she said, shrugging her shoulders as if she didn't care. Bellatrix nudged her, trying her hardest not to laugh. Narcissa was fingering her engagement ring under the table, and Bellatrix knew she was missing Lucius already. She glanced down to the charm bracelet on her wrist, and fingered the ring that was attached to it.
The two sisters were really going to need each other this term.