She is one of a kind.

Lucius Malfoy leaned against a wall, watching as Bellatrix traced the lines on Rabastan Lestrange's hand. Her brother in law looked like he was trying not to laugh as Bellatrix spoke, supposedly interpreting the lines in his hand. Lucius couldn't imagine why: pretty much everything Bellatrix had said so far was eerily true.

"You're selfish when it comes to love…you think realistically…you have a short attention span…you had an abrupt change in lifestyle, or will at some point…you are strongly controlled by fate…you have a coarse temperament, and you aren't a very flexible person. You are practical and responsible, and sometimes materialistic." Bellatrix sat back, smirking as she released Rabastan's palm. Her husband's brother carefully flexed his fingers, and then turned and stood up from the table in the dining room of the Malfoy's mansion. "Anyone disagree?" Bellatrix asked from across the table.

"I can't help but mention that Rabastan pretty much fits all that nonsense," Rodolphus grunted. "Did you make that up as you went along?"

"No, actually, I didn't," Bellatrix sniffed, folding her own hands on the table. For some absurd reason or the other, they were boldly decorated with a caramel-like stain: henna. "And if you're so doubtful, let's see your hand!"

"No-ho, thank you!" Rodolphus said. "You'll make up something humiliating about our marriage, and how I'm never happy with you, and how I'm forcing you to cheat-"

"No one needs to know that," Bellatrix snarled. Someone in the room snickered; Bellatrix rapidly drew her wand, and a bright flash of red emitted from the end. There was a sharp yelp of pain, and a scampering of feet: Wormtail fled the room, whining like the rat he was. Bellatrix daintily seated herself in her chair again, stashing her wand somewhere in her robes and sniffing indignantly.

"So, anyone else?"

"I say we make Snape go," Alecto Carrow sneered. "This ought to be interesting!"

"I will pass." Snape's usual monotone carried over the crowd of Death Eaters; there was no shortage of chuckles as he denied. Snape just glared at them all, arms folded, one eyebrow raised, until the laughter died down.

"But I'm sure Lucius would appreciate this."

Lucius's attention was instantly caught. With shock on his face and a hint of a condescending look in his eye, he turned his gaze to Snape. The potions master just stared at him, almost as if he was daring him to refuse. There were several catcalls and jeers from the Death Eaters; Lucius wasn't sure if he wanted to go through with it, just to shut them up, or refuse and say that he had kept his dignity.

"Why not, Lucius?" Bellatrix said, grinning. Her voice seemed to have jumped two octaves; there was a clear, mocking tone to it. "You don't have anything to hide: or do you?" There was another outburst of raucous laughter, one in which Lucius could feel his blood boiling. Oh, he would Cruciate the lot of them, he really would! But, until them, he supposed Bellatrix wouldn't shut up about it. Lucius grudgingly resigned himself to fate and Bellatrix's "seeing" eye.

The entire room abruptly fell silent as Lucius stepped forward. No one seemed to believe he was really going to allow Bellatrix to even touch him, let alone read his palm. Lucius felt a feeling of smug satisfaction well up in his chest at this: good. He had shocked them all, and no one could call him a coward. Without a word, Lucius sat down in across from Bellatrix, right in the middle of the lengthy table. The chair squeaked slightly as it took his weight; there was a slight rustle of his cloak as Lucius extended his hand to Bellatrix. The woman carefully took his hand in hers, drawing it closer and mouthing something to herself as she traced the lines on his hand with her filthy nails. Lucius shuddered to think when the last time was when she had either cut or washed those.

"Well, now, this is the opposite of what I expected," Bellatrix hissed. "You're content with your love life, which I did expect…but you get your heart broken easily, and there's some depression in there!" Bellatrix's fingers, with flames hennaed behind her nails, traced the topmost of the three distinct lines on his palm, closely examining it and ignoring the murmur that went through the crowds. "You have clear and focused thinking, and you think realistically. You're cautious when it comes to relationships! Oh, my…and no fate line. Oh, well after all the rest of that, that was just plain boring!" Bellatrix shook her head, raising a long-fingered hand and brushing her hair back from her face.

Lucius, meanwhile, just sat with an emotionless look on his face. Deep down, he knew that most of what Bellatrix had said was true: the only thing that wasn't was that he had depression somewhere in his love life. The love of his life truly was Narcissa, and he was very happy with her. But it disturbed Lucius to hear Bellatrix mention how easily his heart was broken: almost every time he and Narcissa fought, it wounded him deeply. The rest wasn't so hard to hear. Lucius sat back and moved to take his hand away, but Bellatrix tightened her grip on him and smirked.

"Oh, you think I'm finished with you?" she giggled. "Not quite! Let's see, fire palm-"


Bellatrix's head snapped up so quickly, Lucius thought she had broken her own neck. Still, he started as well, and felt himself jump as a new, slithering, snake-like voice entered the room. He hadn't heard anything, or sensed anything, or seen anything-! How did the dark lord do that?!

"M-my lord," Bellatrix stuttered, trying to spit something out. "I-it didn't-I mean-we were just-"

"Passing the time until your arrival, nothing more," Lucius said quickly, snatching his hand away from Bellatrix and rising to greet his overlord. "We are exceedingly glad to have you here with us, my lord-"

"Palm reading, Bellatrix?" Voldemort said slowly, cutting off Lucius. The Malfoy closed his mouth, swallowed hard, and stepped back, away from the table. "And henna tattooing, what is this?"

"Just…exploring new things?"

"Well, then, Bellatrix…what else do you see in Lucius's hand?"

Bellatrix quickly turned to Lucius again, extending her slender hand to him. Lucius carefully stepped forward again, keeping one eye on the pale-skinned man at the head of the table. Snape stood behind his chair, looking completely relaxed: Lucius was perturbed at this, as well. He tentatively sat again, offering Bellatrix the same hand he had before. Bellatrix wet her lips, took a deep breath, and gave her final analysis:

"Fire palm…egotistic, insensitive. But…impulsive, and optimistic."

Lucius sighed, rolled his eyes, and stood up again, making sure to turn so Voldemort wouldn't see his reaction. As soon as he had vacated the seat he had been using, another presence filled it: as if he had teleported, Voldemort was sitting across from Bellatrix, and the young woman looked like she might faint.

"And, Bellatrix…what, then, do you see in my hands?"

Bellatrix's mouth simply opened and closed for a minute. She struck Lucius as a fish out of water at first; then, she seemed to pull herself together, and was able to extend one shaking hand to Voldemort and spit out, "D-dominant hand." Voldemort placed his left hand palm-up in hers; Bellatrix gave a breathy shiver, and then averted her eyes to stare at Voldemort's palm. Lucius found it exceedingly amusing how the dark wizard seemed to enjoy making Bellatrix uncomfortable; he waited extraordinarily patiently, smirking like the devil himself, as Bellatrix traced the lines in his hand, still mouthing unintelligible words to herself.

"A-absence of a-a serious relationship," Bellatrix started, tracing the line under Voldemort's fingers. "Less i-interest in romance…emotional trauma." She skipped down to the second line, this one far from the one above it. Bellatrix's voice was soft and breathy when she first started speaking: she stopped stammering at this point, but still didn't seem very confident in her own words. "Thinks realistically…thinking clear and focused…practical, structured approach…makes the occasional momentous decision." Lucius was struck again by how close to accurate Bellatrix's predictions were, and wondered yet again if she was simply making it up as she went along.

"Vitality…lots of it. These lines here…extra vitality. You'll live a long life." Bellatrix moved her fingers to wrap around Voldemort's, tracing the lines that ran parallel to his thumb. "Strong…cautious with relationships…sudden change in lifestyle in the past…plenty of energy. Prone to changes in life form due to outside forces." Bellatrix moved her hand again, this time so it rested under Voldemort's entire hand. She took a cursory look over the entire thing, and offered a few last readings: "Water hand…perceptive, emotional…moody…inhibited…quiet and intuitive."

Bellatrix seemed very reluctant to finish her analysis and let go of the contact she so desired, but forced herself to do so anyway. Voldemort looked incredibly pensive; Lucius was certain that was never a good thing. Bellatrix speaking of how moody and inhibited he was, despite it being the truth, was also bound to start trouble. No one liked hearing about their faults, and Voldemort was hardly any different. But, as Bellatrix withdrew her hands, keeping her eyes on the table and her head down, a white, long-fingered hand flashed out and caught her wrist. Bellatrix's audible gasp echoed around the room; it was ignored.

"And these designs…what are they?"

Bellatrix looked shocked to even hear Voldemort's voice. Still, she managed to explain: "On this hand, this design represents life…love…devotion…the desire to spend an eternity with someone whose initials are hidden within it." Bellatrix then held up her other hand, the one Voldemort has missed, and said, "And this is just…a design I liked. The flames here are for decorative purposes, but this tribal sun and moon interlocked symbolizes the coming together of two opposite forces."

Lucius was sure he knew exactly whose initials he would find in that tattoo: T.M.R., or Tom Marvolo Riddle. Still, he refrained from saying anything, knowing that Voldemort probably knew already. Well, it wasn't exactly a secret…everyone probably knew, even Bellatrix's own husband. And Lucius could swear the feeling between them of wanting someone else was mutual.

"And if this person can find their initials…what does that mean?"

"Well…u-usually the henna is on a woman's hands…if a man cannot find it, the woman will be the dominant in their relationship. If the man finds it, he will be dominant."

Voldemort said nothing, his face a blank slate of emotionless nullity. He instead stared at Bellatrix's hand, turning it back and forth and searching for the betraying three letters he largely suspected he would find hidden in the curving, spiraling, floral design. Lucius held his breath: he couldn't imagine what would happen if and when Voldemort found the letters, but he made sure he was near the door anyway. For several minutes, the entire room was silent, waiting anxiously with bated breath. They all were edging towards the door as well; it seemed Lucius's train of thought was catching on.

"There's the T., there's M., and there's R. Tom Marvolo Riddle."

Voldemort dropped Bellatrix's hand rather unceremoniously, rising to his feet, turning away, and walking back to the head of the table. He seated himself easily, Nagini slithering up and over his shoulders, and, with a flick of his wand, extinguished half of the candles in the room. In the increased darkness, Voldemort's eyes glowed a sinister red, and his skin stood out like the moon in the black velvet sky.

"I win. So, Bellatrix, things remain the same." Voldemort turned to the rest of the Death Eaters, calmly motioning them forward and ordering, "Sit." Lucius waited for a few others to make the first move before he went to sit at the long oak wood table. He wanted to make sure Voldemort wasn't going to slaughter them all as they got closer. Well, one could never be sure, but there was less of a chance of it happening. As soon as all the Death Eaters were seated, all of the back seats filled up first and Bellatrix moving as close to Voldemort was she could, Voldemort spoke one last time on the matter:

"Hide them better next time, and we'll see."