Title: Maybe
Author: nahimana
Pairing: Harry Potter/Bellatrix Lestrange
Rating: M
Warnings: AU, Harry is 18 before 6th year, HBP spoilers
Author's Note: Written as a response to a meme which said I would write a story with Harry and Bellatrix containing flowers, exhaustion at the end and dedicate it to melpemone.
Dedication: To melpemone, whom I adore.
Summary: Ginny thinks he's working on a way to defeat Voldemort. He's not.

Maybe

At night, Harry dreams. Voices surround him, and faces of the dead appear before him until he wakes up screaming. He hasn't slept a whole night in a long time, and he thinks he won't until Voldemort is gone. But now Dumbledore is gone too, and Harry isn't sure how he's going to keep going. It had all seemed so clear in the days after his funeral, but now he's back at the Dursleys and everything is confused.

Ginny writes to him often. Harry can't bring himself to care. He writes back, sometimes, but they're short letters, filled with lies and half-truths. Ginny thinks he's working on a way to defeat Voldemort. He's not.

Aunt Petunia has a new fixation with flowers, Harry notices. They're everywhere- in the garden, inside, even in her salads. They're awful flowers, too. Carnations of various colours. Far too gaudy, Harry thinks.

She gets him to tend to her flowers sometimes. Most of the time she doesn't trust him to do it, other she'll kick him out into the hot sun and leave him there until every flower is perfect, just as she thinks her life should be. Harry thinks there's no such thing as perfection.

Harry doesn't get the Daily Prophet anymore. It's filled with lies of Voldemort's weakness, the Death Eater's capture. Snape is still out there, Bellatrix is still out there, and that's all Harry needs to know.

Its dark by the time he packs up to go inside. Vernon's sick, so Harry has to mow the lawn. It's hard work, but the harder the work, the harder it makes it to think.

He feels a hand go around his waist, and he opens his mouth to scream, but no sound comes out. There's a voice in his ear, whispering taunting words in that horrible, baby voice. Harry's not a child.

"Are you going to be quiet, Potter, or am I going to have to torture you?"

Bellatrix speaks softly, but Harry doesn't answer. He suspects she doesn't want him to answer.

"Good boy. Stay quiet and the Dark Lord might even make it quick and painless…but I doubt it."

Once again, Harry stays silent. He can't really find the energy to talk.

It's hours before Bellatrix speaks again. She's bored with the waiting, Harry can tell.

"So, little Potter, are you scared?"

Harry blinks. Is she trying to start a conversation?

"No. You lot will get what's coming to you, in this life or the next." He says casually, his eyes never moving from the blank stretch of wall he's been staring at for hours.

"Such insolence." Bella tuts, and moves so she's sitting next to him.

Harry drags his eyes away lazlily to look at her, and she sneers at him.

Then suddenly she's kissing him, fierce and hard, and Harry isn't quite sure what to do, so he kisses back.

He hates her.

She hates him back.

But maybe that's why it's better than it ever was with Ginny.

Maybe that's why, when it's all over, Harry sleeps through the night.