It was just before 10.30 at night. A few hour's ago pandemonium had broken out at Malfoy Manor when a goblin had delivered the news that the Lestrange's Gringotts vault had been broken into by Potter and his friends. Only one thing had been missing; a small golden cup once owned by Helga Hufflepuff.
The Dark Lord's fury had been so great he had killed the goblin and anyone else who wasn't able to get out the room quickly enough. Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy had both knocked people out of their way in their haste to leave the room. Now that anyone could blame them. Neither of them could remember ever seeing the Dark Lord lose control so badly.
Now Bella was sitting in the Drawing Room of Malfoy Manor, waiting to be summoned to her lord's side. He had taken off on some secret, vitally important errand after the slaughter a few hours before. She didn't know what was happening but she knew fully well it was something big, very big. She had no doubt that she would soon be summoned to do battle against the Dark Lord's enemies.
Draco was there too. Even though Bella had told him very little about what had happened earlier he knew something was up. He could sense her tension, her anxiety over what was to come. He guessed that there would soon be a battle, one that would require every one of the Dark Lord's followers.
As he looked at Bella he wished he could keep her away from the battle. A foolish wish. He knew that asking her to stay behind would be asking her not to be Bella. She would never stay behind when so much was at stake. It wasn't in her nature to be complacent.
Bella knew and so did Draco that the Dark Lord would need her. She was one of his most powerful and loyal followers. If there was a battle it would be Bella who would be in the thick of it. The thought of the danger she'd be in was the very thing that scared Draco.
She may be incredibly powerful but she wasn't curse-proof. There had already been casualties in this war… and he didn't know how he could bear to lose Bella.
As he looked at his beautiful aunt memories of the past few weeks came unbidden to his mind…
Draco sat on the couch in Bella's room, her head in his lap. She listened as he read out loud from a book called The Dark Lord and his Followers. "Bellatrix Lestrange is the eldest daughter of Druella Black" he read from the book.
"From a very young age she showed signs she would be a powerful witch. At Hogwarts she excelled in all her subjects. However she was never a prefect, no doubt due to her knack for attracting trouble" he read with a smile. He had no difficulty picturing Bella as a mischievous teenager.
"She was fresh out of Hogwarts and only a few months shy of her 18th birthday when she joined the Death Eater's." he continued. "Her name has since become almost as feared as her master's. She is widely acknowledged to be one of the Dark Lord's most devoted followers. Bellatrix and her husband Rodolphus were among the Death Eater's who went to Azkaban rather than renounce the Dark Lord. She is known for being intelligent, ruthless, fanatical…beautiful… incredibly sexy…"
"It does not say that!" she interrupted, laughter in her voice. "Sure it does" he replied, his voice serious. "Right here" he continued, pointing to a spot on the page. She rolled on to her front and leaned in to read the book.
He snapped the book shut an inch from her nose, making her jump back with a yelp.
The aggrieved look on her face made him laugh. She soon started to laugh too. She took the book and gave him a soft swat on the side of the head with it.
Draco was flying above the garden of Malfoy Manor on his Nimbus 2001. There were two hoops at either end of the garden. Flying near the hoop at the other end of the garden was Bella. Her broom was also a Nimbus 2001. Not that she couldn't afford a Firebolt… far from it, but she didn't see the point of spending that much money on a broom. It was a point on which they had long since agreed to disagree.
They were playing one-on-one Quidditch. He was currently ahead… having scored two goals to her one. She had been Seeker for the Slytherin team back when she was at Hogwarts but she had rarely been on a broom since then. She hadn't needed to use a broom once she'd passed her apparition test.
Draco's attention wandered as he stared at her. She definitely looked less at home on a broom than she did on the ground. He wondered wryly if her enemies would be less scared of her if they could see her now.
Suddenly his attention was captured by a gold blur close to the ground, near to Bella. The Golden Snitch! She hadn't seen it yet but he knew if he made a dive for it she'd spot it. He hesitated for a moment and she saw where he was looking. She spotted the snitch and flattened her self on her broom. He sped toward her a split-second after she started to dive towards the snitch. He wasn't going to make it…
He saw she had judged the angle of her dive wrongly and was about to plow into the ground. She jerked the handle of her broom up, narrowly avoiding a head-on impact. She was thrown off the broomstick as it skidded along the ground.
She landed heavily on her side and he couldn't resist the urge to chuckle at her ungraceful landing. He started to panic though when a moment later she hadn't got up. He called out her name and quickly landed beside her.
Her back was to him so he rolled her towards him. A grin broke over her face and she started to laugh. Relief washed over him. She sat up and opened her eyes, looking slightly sheepish at his reproachful expression. "I'm sorry" she said with laughter in her voice. "You're just so easy!"
"Easy am I?" he said mischievously. He grabbed her round the waist and tickled her till she shrieked with laughter. "Stop… stop!" she laughed. "Mercy?" he asked. "Mercy!" she said, tears of laughter in her eyes. He let her go and leaned down to kiss her. As they kissed she opened her hand, releasing the tiny Golden Snitch.
It was not long before Midnight. Draco was just about to drift off to sleep when he heard the creak of the door opening.
It was Bella. She was wearing a silk dressing gown in a deep-purple that looked great on her. He thought that even though black was sexy on her she should wear purple more often. The silk robe showed of her curves well. All of a sudden he was wide-awake.
She slid the door closed with a smile. "I missed you" she said in tone that was both tender and suggestive. She walked over to the bed and crawled over the covers towards him.
She crawled beside him and he slid his arms round her. She gave him a hello kiss that soon turned into a long, deep, lingering kiss. "I missed you too" he said when they broke apart. "I can tell" she said with a grin.
He sat up and the sheets fell to his waist. He wasn't wearing anything on his upper body. He pulled her onto his lap and kissed her again as he started to undo the belt holding her robe closed. When it was undone he slide slid his hands inside, enjoying the feeling of her soft, smooth skin. She sighed as he ran her hands up and her sides before cupping her breasts. His hands stroked and caressed her breasts and his mouth found her neck.
She shrugged the robe over her shoulders and slid under the covers beside him. Her head went between his legs and she sucked, kissed, licked and nibbled until he was as ready and eager as she was. Then she crawled over his body till her hips were where her head had been.
Gently she guided him inside her. He felt her need as she started to move her hips against his, first slowly, then quickly. He thrust back, making her moan at the delicious friction as they ground their bodies together.
There was gentleness but also passion and lust as she rode his body. She leaned down to kiss him hungrily, her mouth on his telling him that him that this time, she didn't want him to be gentle. She nipped his lower lip playfully, not hard enough to break the skin.
He gripped her hips, using his grip to thrust more deeply into her. She moaned, grinding her body against his in a way that made his breath catch in his throat. Damn, did she know how to excite him.
They hips met hard and fast as they both neared their peak, each stroke hitting the end of her. She moaned in pleasure and her nails dug into his shoulders almost hard enough to bruise. She cried his name as she came, digging her nails sharply into his shoulders as her body arched above him.
The combination of the pain and her body writhing above him pushed him over the edge too, his cries of pleasure mingling with hers.
Afterwards she lay with her head on his arm and her arm draped loosely over his body.
He decided to ask her something that he'd wanted to ask for a while. "Bella…" he said quietly "Yes?" she replied sleepily.
"My Mum told me that when you found out you weren't pregnant you were disappointed" he said quietly. "Did you… want the baby?" Surprise showed on her face as she considered the question. "Truthfully?" she said thoughtfully, sitting up and meeting his eyes. "Yes. A part of me did."
"Even though it would have been a huge mess?" he asked softly. "I was terrified at first" she admitted "But when I found out I wasn't pregnant… I felt… kind-of… sad… that there wouldn't be a little version of you running around." "Yeah?" he asked his voice tender. "Yeah" she replied with a small smile.
"Did you… think of names… at all?" he asked curiously. "I didn't really have time" she replied with a chuckle. "But if it had been a boy… I think I would have named him after a star sign… like his Dad."
"Really?" he replied, touched at the thought. "Which star sign?' She paused to think about it for a moment. "Scorpius" she replied decisively. "Scorpius" he repeated thoughtfully. "I like it."
The chime of the clock striking the half hour jolted him out of his own memories. He could see Bella jump as the clock chimed away. Clearly she was more on-edge than she wanted to let on. Sometimes he could read her emotions clearly… but other times she was a mystery to him. That was part of her fascination. The light from the fire flickered over her face as she stood near to the fireplace.
He couldn't help wondering what made her tick. There was so much about her he didn't know. He didn't know why she had joined the Death Eater's apart from that her parents had been staunchly pure-blood. Well that and the fact that Dark Lord had always had a great influence over her…. an influence that if Draco was any judge, seemed to be waning.
Since the night he had tortured her, the skull necklace she always wore had been conspicuously absent from her neck. Draco's mother had once told him that necklace had been given to Bella by the Dark Lord as a sign of favor. Rumor whispered that it had been the token of something else – an affair between Bella and the Dark Lord.
Knowing Bella as he did, he thought it likely. As much as he hated to think about it the Dark Lord could have had Bella as any time… just by snapping his fingers. She had (at least up until recently) been slavishly in love with him. But he wouldn't dwell on it. The thought of Bella with someone else, anyone else, made him want to curse something.
He wanted so much to protect her… from the Dark Lord… from her enemies... and most of all from herself. But all he could do was hope that when the war was over she would still be alive. He didn't want to consider the alternative. He couldn't help wondering if she was scared… if indeed she was sacred of anything. And he wondered even more whether she actually enjoyed the fighting… the killing.
"Bella" he said quietly. She looked up. "Yes?" she replied in a tense voice. "Does it ever get tiring, fighting all the time?" he asked tentatively. She sighed, her chest going up and down.
"My name means warrior" she said softly, but in a matter-of-fact tone. "That's what I am. All I know… all I'm good at… is killing." She seemed rather sad as she said it.
He was somewhat taken aback that this was how she saw herself. Didn't she realize she had a softer side? A side he'd been lucky enough to see these past few weeks. His face was thoughtful as he considered her darker side… and her attitude to murder.
"Does it ever get easier… killing people?" he asked, his voice tentative but undeniably curious.
"Yes…" she said in a rather flat voice. "… but you're not a killer."
"What makes you say that?" he said abashedly. If she was right was implications did that have for his future as a Death Eater?
"You would have killed Albus Dumbledore when you had the chance" she said in the voice of someone forced to reveal an unpleasant truth.
"I know " he said ashamedly. "I was weak." "When you did it I couldn't understand why" she said softly. "I think I do now… you have a respect for life. I don't see that as weak." Her voice was surprisingly comforting.
"The Dark Lord sees it as weak" he replied rather bitterly.
"How can you fear death…" she said matter-of-factly "when you can't die? And how can you respect life… when you have no fear of death?"
"Do you fear death?" he said quietly, his gaze meeting hers. Her face had a look of suprising tenderness in it as she looked back at him.
"No" she said in a firm but quiet voice, walking closer to him. "I've been dying a little each day… since I found out you loved me. Even though it's hopeless… I love you."
"You love me?" he replied, unable to quite comprehend what she said. Was this really Bellatrix Lestrange? Bellatrix with such tenderness in her voice? Bellatrix who was telling him she loved him? Even in his wildest dreams he'd never imagined she'd fall in love with him. And the worst part was that he loved her too. Truly, madly, deeply.
She crossed the few steps between them and he pulled her into his arms. She wound her arms around his neck like she had the first time he had kissed her… in this very room. This time she kissed him, her mouth hard and yet soft at the same, her lips caressing his.
He told her with his mouth on hers how much her wanted her, how much her cared about her, how much he wished that there weren't so many reasons they couldn't truly be together. How much he wanted to be the one to make her happy.
Suddenly the Dark Mark on his arms seared with a blinding pain, turning black. He knew somehow that the Dark Lord wanted his Death Eater's to make for Hogwart's with all haste, and that a battle would be imminent. They abruptly pulled apart. From the startled look on Bella's face she had also got the memo.
"We have to go" she said softly, regret in her voice. He could see in her face that she wanted to stay here with him. But duty came first. It always did.
He pulled her back into his arms to kiss her one more time. She kissed him back passionately, hungrily… as if she couldn't help herself. Her lips were almost bruising on his. However at the same time he could tell that she needed to leave, needed to obey her master's summons. She had been a faithful follower far too long to desert her lord now. He knew that, accepted that but at the same time he wished the summons had come at a different time. He wanted so badly to have her, right there and then.
She closed her eyes and pressed her lips once more against his. She disappeared in mid kiss… apparating in a wisp of black smoke. He was left with the taste of her still on his lips.
He suddenly had an awful feeling in the pit of his stomach that he would never see her again. He couldn't explain it but he felt it – more and more with each moment. He hoped that he was wrong, that he wouldn't lose the woman who had become so much to him. His aunt, his mentor, his lover. His Bella.