The Wizarding World was unanimous – the marriage between the handsome Lucius Malfoy and the beautiful Narcissa Black would be the marriage of the century. Lucius could not have chosen a better wife in the youngest of the Black sisters, with her beautiful blonde hair and those crystal eyes that could have shattered even the hardest of hearts. She was so elegant and refined too, brought up with intimate knowledge of etiquette and the workings of pureblood society; one wouldn't be able to find a more suitable wife anywhere in the country, and Lucius was certainly applauded for his excellent choice.

Lucius stood in the drawing room of his father's manor, smoking cigars and celebrating the upcoming union with the rest of the Malfoy men. He truly was thrilled with his acquisition of the soon-to-be Mrs Malfoy, and had sufficiently bolstered his pride with the thought of soon declaring the birth of the Malfoy son and heir; secretly, he had already decided that he would name his first son Draco. His uncles and father stood around him, clapping him on the back and toasting to his honour. He laughed along as they told bawdy tales about the prowess of the women of the Black family and made seedy promises to Lucius as to what he should expect on his wedding night. Lucius behaved as was expected of him, until the clock in the hallway struck midnight and he excused himself, slipping out into the cool air of the grounds.

He did not have to walk far to find the person he was seeking. She was stood beneath a tree at the very edge of the forest that surrounded his home, her porcelain skin standing out against the dark of the night.

"Lucius." She whispered, taking his hand and recklessly pulling him further into the forest. She tangled her hands into his long blonde locks and hungrily pressed her lips against his, her tongue making a bold exploration of his mouth. Lucius put his hands gently on her shoulders and pushed her away.

"Bellatrix, you know we mustn't. We had agreed that this would be a civilised meeting, an opportunity to…discuss things." The woman opposite him folded her arms and her mouth formed a moue of disappointment.

"What is there to discuss?" She demanded. "You are to marry my sister in a month and, if I am not much mistaken, I shall soon be betrothed to Rodolphus Lestrange. My father hasn't outwardly spoken of it, but I'm certain that it shall soon be announced. We should make the most of the time with which we are left."

He stood back and inspected her in silence. She was the complete opposite of her younger sister. Whilst Narcissa was fair and delicate, meek and malleable, Bellatrix was dark and boisterous, fierce in her own desires and steadfast in her wishes. Lucius had found her irresistible ever since he had first spoken to her on the Hogwarts Express; she was two years older than him, and her ability to snap her fingers and order him around thrilled him. Narcissa did nothing of the sort, but she sat limply by him and hung upon his every word. He did not want a sycophant, but a witch who would match his fiery temper with her own. Lucius sighed as he examined every inch of her: the haphazard nature of her dark curls that tumbled about her face, her dark eyes that glittered with unspoken promises, the curve of her deep red lips. Then finally, and perhaps most tantalisingly, the pale column of her throat, around which she had tied a black satin ribbon. He couldn't resist her any longer and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close. She gasped, before giggling huskily as he pressed his lips against her throat.

They made love passionately and heatedly on the floor of the forest until they led together, naked and sated with matching smirks of satisfaction. Lucius held the ribbon, which he had removed so carefully, as they spoke; her head resting on his chest and her warm breath skittering across his bare flesh.

"You know, don't you, that I would not have chosen her, if I had had the liberty of a free choice. I would have chosen you."

Bellatrix chuckled.

"Oh Lucius, please don't be so maudlin. You know that you would never have been permitted to choose me – my parents think me mad, and Narcissa is such terribly good breeding stock. At this very moment she is no doubt busy designing a nursery, with images of a beautiful blonde-haired, grey-eyed child floating about her head." Lucius frowned at the image; he had recently begun to picture a little boy with dark hair and his own grey eyes, despite knowing that such a thought was nigh on impossible.

They lapsed into silence; the only sound was the rustling of the leaves above them and their heavy breathing. Lucius lazily trailed an index finger down the length of her neck, before dragging it over the swell of her breast.

"This is goodbye, isn't it?" He asked quietly. He felt her hair brush against his chest, and knew that it had been a nod. "Although, I shall still have to bear your tedious company at family gatherings, I suppose."

Bellatrix laughed and stood up, collecting her clothes from were they had been scattered across the floor. Lucius also stood and they dressed in silence together, until she stopped and fixed her dark eyes on him.

"Tell me you haven't bedded my sister yet."

"I have not."

"Good." She said, jauntily tying the bow around her waist. "At least that is one thing to comfort me whilst I watch you marry her."

Lucius took her hand and slowly pulled her close again, cherishing the feeling of her curvaceous form against his. During his brief, and rather chaste, encounters with Narcissa, Lucius had been struck by how stiff she was. She was nothing compared to her soft, passionate sister. He did not kiss Bellatrix, but she simply tucked her head beneath his chin in a final lovers' embrace.

"If only things could be different." She didn't reply, but she did not have to; he knew that she felt the same.

"You ought to go back to the house now, Mr Malfoy. Your father will no doubt be wondering where you've got to."

"Of course." He replied, stepping away from her with a small sigh, reluctant to adhere to the formality with which they were supposed to address one another. "Good evening, Miss Black. Am I to presume that I shall be seeing you at the engagement feast tomorrow evening?"

"Certainly." She looked at him steadily, her eyes loaded with far too many emotions for Lucius to discern. Many people, including her own family, believed that Bellatrix felt nothing but hatred; standing opposite her then, he had incontrovertible proof that this was not true. "It truly has been a pleasure, Lucius." And she disapparated.

Lucius walked back up to the house with his heart thumping and a feeling of nausea settled in his stomach. If a stranger had seen him, they would not have believed that he would soon be married to the most desirable witch in pureblood society. He looked more like a man with a noose around his neck. Lucius slipped the black ribbon into his pocket, gently rubbing his thumb along it as he did. He would keep it with him always, even as he went to his engagement dinner, even as he watched his young bride walk up the aisle towards him, even as he bedded her for the very first time.

That little slip of black ribbon would remind him of the woman that he could not have, but the only one that he truly wanted.

Author's Note: For some reason, i was suddenly struck with an interest in writing a scenario in which Lucius and Bellatrix were in love. This is the result of that strange flight of fancy! I was inspired by Tom Waits' song Woe, although this is by no means a songfic. The words go like this:

The ribbon round your neck
against your skin that's pale as bone
It is my favorite thing you've worn
The band is playing our song
And we won't go home, 'til morn

Beautiful, eh? Please review - whether it be praise or criticism, it is welcome!