Author's Notes: Okay, I know the last chapter sucked. Probably also made no sense. Sorry, I just needed to get it out. This one is better, I swear (although rich in retroactive exposition). And… caralina100, you got it! I hope my explanation makes sense.
So, this is the last chapter. Thank you so much for sticking with it this long! My love to readers, you are the best!
"How did this happen?" Bellatrix sobbed. "What happened?"
"Exactly what I planned, my Bella," the Dark Lord said calmly. "Please stand up straight."
"But… but how…"
"Let me explain, Bellatrix," he said. "Oh, but you might want to tie up those three. We don't need them to interrupt." He gestured at the Mudblood and the two Weasleys. Bellatrix flicked her wand at them, and ropes flew out, binding them.
"You remember, Bella, what happened when I tried to kill Potter that first time?"
"The spell rebounded, my Lord."
"Exactly. Do you happen to remember why?"
"Then let me remind you." He stepped back and toed Potter's lifeless body with vague amusement. "He was protected by his mother's love for him. She died for him, if you recall."
"Yes, my Lord."
"Now, let us examine what happened here. My soul was attached tenuously to your body. When someone is killed, their soul is detaches from their body. A killing curse kills only one person. Can you remember all that, Bellatrix?"
"Yes, my Lord."
"So, Potter's killing curse, although aimed at you, broke my soul off your body instead, because it is anchored so weakly. Following, Bella?"
"Yes, my Lord."
"But, and this is the part I feared would go wrong, you were willing to die for me. I believe your words were 'For God's sake, take me instead'. And, as Potter's Mudblood mother demonstrated so admirably, that protected me."
"My soul was not torn off you. The spell rebounded. And hit Mr. Potter here." He kicked Potter over onto his stomach. "Just as I knew it would."
"But your soul did leave me! I felt it!"
"Yes. I left your body, so that I could latch onto Potter. Get his soul out, and into me."
"I don't understand."
He sighed. "Do you happen to remember how you were planning to give my soul form?"
"Yes… your soul was pulled out of the horcrux and latched onto the nearest soul, pulled the life-force out, and fed on it to obtain physical form."
"Well done, Bella. Now, going through what happened again… Harry's spell rebounded on him because you were willing to sacrifice yourself, thus killing him, and I left your body so that I could take his soul and feed on it – for want of a better word – so that I was given physical form."
"But…" Bellatrix dashed tears from her eyes and stared at him in wonder. "But surely those are just the sort of odds you said not to gamble! We had everything to lose, and–"
"And everything to gain, my Bella," he said lightly. "Look. Potter is dead. His friends are at our mercy. I no longer have to share your body. You are not dead. What more would you want?"
"But it could have gone so wrong! We could have lost everything!"
"So we could have, my Bella. But we didn't. I told you I trusted you."
"But, my Lord–"
"Bella, let it be enough that it worked. Now, dear Bellatrix, shall we kill these three, or torture them?" He gestured at the Mudblood and the two Weasleys.
"Do you really have to ask?" Bellatrix pointed her wand at the Mudblood. "Crucio."
She screamed, her tightly tied body buckling. Bellatrix smiled, enjoying the pain she was causing. But she couldn't help thinking how much better the Dark Lord would look under her spell than the Mudblood…
"Beautiful, my Bella," the Dark Lord said, gently stroking Bellatrix's shoulder. "You are beautiful when you torture them."
She made a soft moaning sound in her throat and lifted her wand. "Can we go home, my Lord?"
"No more torture, Bella?"
"Not with these people." She smiled mischievously. "Now that you have your own body–"
"Good God, Bella, you're doing it again! I may not be inside your body, but I am still a legilimens!"
"Oh, don't tell me you don't want to?" Bellatrix was high on success, and she was more daring than was perhaps wise.
"That would be a lie," he conceded. With three quick flicks of his wand, the Mudblood and the Weasleys went still, their eyes wide and lifeless. He offered his arm in a gesture of mock-formality, and Bellatrix took it.
They apparated back to the flat, and the Dark Lord set about undressing Bellatrix.
"My Lord?" she said thoughtfully, shimmying out of her dress.
"Yes, Bella?" He ran his tongue over her collarbone.
"Why did not the curse kill me?"
He pulled back and cocked his head, an ironic smile curling across his face.
"Dual protection, I believe, is the term," he said, and went back to removing Bellatrix's clothes.
"What?" She stopped moving, and looked at him with confusion.
"You protected me, I protected you. Help me with these corset strings, would you, Bella?"
"No," she said. She put her hand over his. "Explain–"
"Oh, for God's sake are you going to make me spell it out for you?" He put his hands on either side of her face and stared at her. There was exasperation in his dark, crimson-cast eyes, but amusement and an emotion she couldn't name.
"Bellatrix," he said, very slowly and clearly, "you didn't die, because I would die for you. You didn't die because I love you."
She stared at him.
"Do you remember what I said about Plato?"
"Do you have an answer? Do I make you whole, my Bella? Am I the other part of your soul, do you think?"
"Yes, my Lord," she managed. "I think so."
"Well," he said, going back to her corset strings, "I thought I should mention that you are the other part of me. Now help me with this damn corset."