Author's Notes: Written for Addicted-To-Sugar-Quills' Happy New Year Competition on the HPFC forum. Eleven interconnected drabbles.

Enjoy, and happy (slightly early) New Year!


Bellatrix stormed into the dining room, glaring at Rodolphus. "You're supposed to be overseeing the house elves! How is any cleaning going to get done when they're left alone?"

Rodolphus looked up, and scowled as well. "You're one to talk. I don't see you doing anything."

"I don't have to! And you'll do what I say unless you want me bringing up that little matter with Narcissa at the dinner party tonight…"

Rodolphus's eyes narrowed. "You do, and I bring up the Dark Lord."

Bellatrix sneered. "You have nothing to hold over my head. I'm honoured to bed the Dark Lord–"

"Oh, shut it," Rodolphus grumbled, looking away.

"You shut it, and go help the House elves clean! People will be here for the New Year's party at ten o'clock, and I swear to God, if this house is a mess then–"

"It's barely noon!"

"We have a large manor."


Bellatrix gave Rodolphus such a glare that he felt himself physically shrinking. He swallowed. "All right, fine," he mumbled.

He slouched out of the room, making his way down to the ballroom.

Bitch, he thought bitterly. Wish I could divorce her…

It had been a long, bitter ten months since their marriage. Ten months, punctuated by accusations of adultery by both of them, by fights that could be heard all across the manor, by long nights when Rodolphus slipped into his sister-in-law's bed for comfort and even longer ones when – he knew all too well – Bellatrix slipped into the Dark Lord's.

Did he really wish they could divorce?

He pondered the question while he ordered the house elves around.

Oh, he hated her at times. Many, many times. But for all that, every time he saw her he managed to remember – at least, in some small way – that he loved her.

No, he decided at last. No, he was glad he was stuck with her.

Perhaps the next year would be better.