My Bella My Child

By Lady Lestrange

A/N; Why did Voldemort save Bellatrix at the Ministry? This is a little plot bunny that popped up after OotP and wouldn't go away. I know, I'm usually a die-hard Voldemort/Bellatrix fan and this will not be Voldemort/Bellatrix as you expect it to be, but then, I always do the unexpected.

Disclaimer: Voldemort, Bellatrix and the world they live in belong to JK Rowlings. Thanks for letting us play in your world, JK.

--Lady Lestrange

My Bella My Child

I knew why I did it. It was wrong, but I did it anyway. There were other Death Eaters at the Ministry who were well worth the saving. Why did I take the chance like some idiotic Gryffindor? I knew she didn't deserve the saving. She didn't deserve it, but sometimes one acts on instinct, even as a Slytherin. She tended to bring that strange quality out in me--just as her mother had. She was a distraction, that should be eliminated. She had cost me the prophecy. She had cost me Potter.

"MASTER, I TRIED. I TRIED--DO NOT PUNISH ME." Why was she begging? Did she sense the magnitude of my ire? I had never laid a hand or a wand upon her in all her years. Yes, she had seen others punished, but never her--never my sweet Bella. She did not need to beg for my mercy, and yet…

The memory of her cries echoed in my ears, and I remembered.

Her words transported me back in time to when she was but a dark haired sprite among her blonde sisters, shoving Narcissa forward to take the blame for some childish wrongdoing. "It was Narcissa," she insisted with a heavy lidded pout. "It was Andromeda's fault. DO NOT PUNISH ME," she had cried to her mother and laughing, her mother rewarded her ingenuity. Bellatrix was without a doubt the smartest of the three.

My Bella. Bellatrix. I could not look at her without smiling, and yet, she had failed me today. I did not have the prophecy, and I needed that prophecy.

There it was--smashed on the atrium floor--months of preparation, months of effort smashed like some glass bauble on the Ministry floor. I could not forgive her for that. I could save her, but I couldn't forgive her, could I?

"Be quiet Bella," I said in a low dangerous voice. "I shall deal with you in a moment--"

I needed a moment to think, but I didn't have that moment now. I did not need to look at her to feel the intensity of her dark gaze upon me. Her mother was so captivating too, and here in this totally inappropriate moment, my mind replayed moments of stolen passion: Tom Riddle, the half-blood, defiling the purity of the oldest and purest of the purebloods, the Blacks. I couldn't help but smile with the memory.

I always called her mother my Bella. Her name belonged to her husband, but her beauty belonged to me. It was a shame that we had not met before she was married and the mother of two. It was a shame that I, a half blood never stood a chance to court her, and yet, my blood boiled with more heat than the Black that claimed her as his own. Often I contemplated killing him, but Bella would not condone such cowardice. She would not give up the proud name of Black, but neither would we give each other up. Our stolen moments were like bits of heaven dipped in fire.

"Be quiet, my Bella, my beautiful," I whispered as I silenced her with a kiss. "There are more important things than blood." In that moment, there were many more important things: the work I was doing, the heat of her skin, the imminent arrival of her husband…

Somehow the danger made us both bold. Even in our frenzy, we were careful. There could be no bastard issue. After all she had married a Black, the purest of the pure. We both knew that, but we both wanted more than life itself to create a child between us, and that intent with all the fire of a wild child's tantrum poured forth in accidental magic that neither of us could control, tearing apart the protections we had placed. Call it destiny. Call it fate. Call it retribution, but I could not give her a boy. An heir to the Black fortune who was not a Black would have been the greatest betrayal, and we deluded ourselves into thinking that a girl child was less of a taint on the Black honor.

"Why?" my Bella asked. "Why have you let this happen, Tom?" I had no answer for her--no answer for her husband, so I disappeared and let her bear what could have been a horrible travesty, but the child was named a Black--and she named it--her--there could be no doubt--she named the child for me. My pet name for her ever on her lips as she called my child to her. Bellatrix, a warrior star, Bella a beauty, Bellatrix Black--Bella--my bella. I don't know how she convinced him that the child was his. I don't know how she got him to agree to that name. Afterwards, she refused to see me. For the baby's protection, she said. I dare not see you again. For a moment my hand hovered over my wand. I wanted the baby dead. It had come between us, and yet, for the child, I agreed.

Who was I kidding? I was not father material, and after all, the woman was just a woman. I did not even tell her goodbye. I left her with a curse and a cold heart. I tried to forget.

I had much to accomplish and I only returned when I knew my Bella was dead. It was simpler that way. The child, our child was at Hogwarts by then. She was nearly of age. Even if I chose to be a father to her, the time was long past, but I could be a mentor, and who would object? After all, I was a different person now. I was Lord Voldemort. Flight of Death. Even her father bowed before me. He did not know me. It was better that way.

Bella's warning cut through my thoughts like a beacon in the chaos in the Ministry Atrium. "He is here--he is below--" Dumbledore I suppose that warning should have brought some sort of redemption, but there is no redemption for me--for us. Even possessing the Potter boy brought no relief. There was a moment of indecision in Dumbledore's eyes but I could see almost immediately that he wouldn't kill the boy. Harry Potter was too like a son to the old man. Sometimes I wondered where the Potter blood was in the Dumbledore line. Were they only related by their quest to kill me, or was there something more? Certainly it was evident that Dumbledore could not bring himself to kill the boy, even to destroy me. I could understand that. It hurt for just a moment, that he was privileged to call this boy his own in spirit if not in name and if not in blood. Perhaps, just perhaps I could use that weakness. I knew it well.

I could not take my attention from Dumbledore and yet, just as he knew where Potter was, I knew the moment the statues had fallen on her. I sensed her fear. She knew she was trapped--caught. I could taste the fear of the Dementors that she had so recently escaped. She was terrified--certain that she would be Kissed--certain that I would let it be so. After all, I was no Gryffindor, and she had failed me. There was no reason to save her. I had the boy in my will. He could die. I only had to push the thought into his mind. He was already embracing it, babbling inanely of his longing to be with his dead parents and godfather. It would only take another moment--a moment I did not have.

The choice lay before me: life or death--Bellatrix or Potter. I would not have time to accomplish both. No! I struggled with the choice, not wanting to make it. Not Bella--if it were anyone but Bella--

I released the Potter boy just as the atrium began to crowd with aurors. Cursing the lack of time, I moved from him. I needed to make my escape. I had failed. I knew when to retreat. Yes, my Death Eaters were part and parcel of that failure, but I knew that the failure also rested heavily upon me. I was the one who had broken down and come to the Ministry after all. I had promised myself that I would leave it in the hands of my Death Eaters. Harry Potter had pulled the prophecy from the wall, just as we planned. It should have been so simple, but life is rarely simple. Yes, my Death Eaters failed, but I did not need to risk myself. No. Cornelius Fudge could have lived on in blissful ignorance or my rebirth, but I threw that away. Why? I am ashamed to tell you. There was one at the Ministry I could not send back to Azkaban. I acted on instinct, like some Gryffindor child to save her.

One of the aurors, a scarlet robed man with a ponytail looked right at me. It was a close thing. He could have thrown a spell if he had been just a bit quicker, but I think he was so startled, so filled with fear to have even seen me, that he could not move, and in that moment I wrapped my arms around Bellatrix and apparated. Her long fingers so like my own clung to me with the abandon she had once done as a toddler, so trusting, so innocent.

Afterwards I berated myself. I had had Potter's mind crushed in my will. I could have stopped his heart, or his breathing. I could have opened his veins and let his blood stain the atrium floor, but then I would have had no time to save Bellatrix.

"Thank you. Thank you, Master," she groveled dropping to her knees at my feet, but I felt the question in her mind even though I didn't consciously use the legilmency. She was so close to my own thoughts that hers flowed into mine unbidden. Her dark hair fell to her waist in a tangled mass, so like her mother's, I could almost reach out and remember what it felt like to love and be loved. She regarded me with confusion. "Why? Why, Master, did you save me?" The thoughts were filled with confusion and I did not enlighten her.

Instead, I disentangled her hand from my own and shoved her to the floor. "You have failed me," I sneered at her, but I knew I was wrong. It was I who had failed her--her and her mother so many years ago.

ONE SHOT. Finis. Please review