Author's Notes: One-shot. I reckon that if the soul/mind is capable of conscious thought after death, Bellatrix would have thought something like this. Voldemort is a touch out-of-character, but remember that this is seen through Bellatrix's rather rose-coloured glasses (proverbially speaking). This is the first fanfiction I've had the nerve to publish, so if you think it's truly stupid, then please break it to me gently.

Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own the Harry Potter characters (I wish!). And I wouldn't want the first time I meet J. K. Rowling to be in a courtroom, so please don't sue me.

When the spell hit, it didn't hurt.

There was a momentary pressure in her chest, then… nothing. She was vaguely aware of her body hitting the floor, but already she was apart from it.

Bellatrix Lestrange, dead at last.

The Dark Lord's scream was music to her ears; he had not screamed for any other Death Eater. Only her.

She was rising, ever so slowly, like a feather lifted by the gentlest of breezes. Tearing away from her corpse was almost more painful than dying had been, for she, unlike so many women, loved her body. She was not like Cissy, detached and frigid, to whom flesh existed for purely functional reasons. Nor the Dark Lord, whose body was no more precious to him than any of his horcruxs. It was a place to hold his soul, and nothing more.

Not to her. From her teenage years, Bellatrix had treasured her body for all it was capable of. It gave her pleasure and it returned the favour. She had revelled in the sensations of fine clothing against her skin, had enjoyed the feelings of her muscles bending and stretching when she moved, and had taken true delight in sex, with near any who might offer it.

Yes, she would be sad to see her body go.

Even as her spirit rose a little higher, she bid a fond mental goodbye to the extraordinary configuration of muscle, nerve and tissue that had served her so well through all these years. Surely God's finest creation.

The thought of God filled Bellatrix's soul with dread. It was far too much to hope for that she would be spared final judgement. No Biblical sinner had ever been as terrible as she; indulging as she did in each and every sin the Bible named. There would be no heaven for her.

Near a foot above the ground now, she prayed without any real hope. Ave Maria, gratia plena

Mary would not hear, and if she did, she would not answer. Bellatrix didn't expect her to; she didn't expect salvation. Whatever Hell had in store for her would be no less than she deserved.

The Dark Lord, her beautiful, perfect Dark Lord, was speaking to the Potter boy. Bellatrix could not make out what was being said, and she didn't much care.

He could not feel love, she knew. But Bellatrix fancied he felt something for her. It might not have been love, but it was something more than he felt for other Death Eaters. He had opened up to her, held her, whispered things in her ear that made her appreciate that, otherworldly though he was, the Dark Lord was, in a way, still human. He would not have told just anyone the things he told her. His words had betrayed emotion, a frailty that he did not like others to see. She had comforted him, reminded him that emotions, when kept in their proper place, did not make him anything less to her.

She wished so much that she could tell him how deeply she felt for him. Perhaps the Dark Lord did not love, but she did.

The Potter boy was speaking, and she could sense that the end of the Dark Lord was approaching. Bellatrix floated further and further from the fight, and from her Dark Lord. The great hall was dissipating around her, flowing into abstract mist. She could see only the Dark Lord's glistening crimson eyes in the murky darkness.

Goodbye, my love, she thought as those too left her. I would say see you in Hell, but it wouldn't be Hell if you were there.