Author's Notes: Written for the December 30th Prompt of the Day on Hogwarts Online II – "Kiss me hard, 'cause this will be the last time I let you."

Enjoy!

)O(

Rodolphus watched Bellatrix eagerly through the wedding and the reception in the ballroom of Black Manor, waiting eagerly for the affair to be over so he and Bellatrix could leave. He carried on conversations with those attending and graciously accepted their congratulations for making such a fine marriage, but his eyes were always on his bride.

"Rodolphus, are you listening to me?"

He snapped his head around to look at Lucius, who was lounging against the wall with a champagne glass in his hand and a smirk playing around his lips.

"Pardon?"

He snickered. "You're completely besotted, aren't you?"

"Were you saying something, Lucius?"

"No, no…" He raised his hands in mock surrender. "Don't let me tear you away from the oh-so-important task of staring at your bride." He sighed a little. "Not that I can blame you… you're lucky, Rodolphus. She's very attractive…"

"Yes, she is," Rodolphus said shortly. He didn't like Lucius commenting on Bellatrix's appearance, even if what he said was true.

"Just hope she's more decent towards you now that you're married," said Lucius lightly, taking a sip of his champagne just as Bellatrix made her way across the floor to Rodolphus's side.

"Well," she said, a slightly forced smile upon her lips, "I think it's time for us to be going. Wouldn't you agree, Rodolphus?"

Rodolphus glanced at Lucius, who smiled. "Yes, do go, Rod… I'm sure you can hardly wait for your honeymoon to begin…"

"Lucius…" Bellatrix's lips twisted into a derisive smirk. "Charming as always. Your comments are an exemplary demonstration of good Pureblood sensibilities."

Lucius sneered. "As are you, I'm sure, Bellatrix…" He glanced pointedly at the low cut of her dress.

Rodolphus cleared his throat. "Bellatrix, yes, I agree that we should go. It has been lovely speaking to you, Lucius." He inclined his head quickly, then took Bellatrix's arm and the two of them hurried out.

Bellatrix relaxed visibly once they were out of the manor. She let out a little sigh of relief, then grabbed her veil and tore it from her head. She threw it to the ground with a sneer, stepping on it and grinding it into the ground with her heel.

"Well," she said, "at least that's over."

"You… didn't enjoy it?" Rodolphus glanced back at the manor, then at her with some confusion. "I agree of course that the reception was dreadfully, dull… but the wedding itself was lovely, wasn't it? Didn't you have a good time?"

"Merlin, no." Bellatrix pulled a pin from her hair, letting it tumble down her back, out of the knot it had been bound into. She wasn't even looking at Rodolphus, and he felt his spirits sink a little.

"But," he said, trying to sound jovial despite his bride's apparent disinterest, "now it's over… and we're married." He took her arm and pulled her around to try to kiss her.

Bellatrix slapped him. "What do you think you're doing?"

Rodolphus recoiled instantly, bringing his hand to his stinging cheek. "Ouch! What–"

"I don't recall ever giving you permission to touch me!"

"But…" He stared at her, perplexed. "I… I just… I mean… we're married."

"I know that. I've been hearing that over and over for the past five hours."

"Doesn't being married mean I can kiss you?"

Her lip curled. "Well, it would if I had gotten married to you because I loved you or cared about you or anything of that sort. But as it is, we both know that the only reason I've got this ring on my finger is because Mother and Father can't stand the idea of an unmarried daughter. And now that I've got the bloody ring and my parents can't complain anymore, I've fulfilled my responsibilities. Now, if you'll excuse me–"

"Wait a minute!" Rodolphus caught her arm, horrified. He most certainly had not known that. "But– you said those marriage vows! You promised to stand by me for better or worse and in sickness and in health until death do we part and all that!"

"You don't honestly think I meant a single thing I said in there, do you? Good God, Rodolphus, I'd feel almost sorry for you if you weren't so damn pathetic!"

I will not cry, he ordered himself. I will not cry over her on my wedding day.

"As I was saying," she continued, "if you will excuse me, I think I'll be going…"

"Where are you going?"

She smirked. "Nowhere that concerns you."

"Some other man's bed?" Rodolphus surprised himself at the bitterness in his voice.

"Perhaps…" Her tone was light and musical, and it belied what she was saying. Rodolphus's throat tightened with emotion – how could she be so harsh when he had just promised his life to her? Maybe Bellatrix hadn't meant those wedding vows, but he most certainly had.

Maybe Lucius's comment about hoping Bellatrix was kinder to him now that they were married had been more apt than Rodolphus liked to admit.

"Can I at least kiss you?" he asked, forcing his voice not to shake. "Just one more time? One kiss before you… you run off with some other man and never let me touch you again?"

The two of them stood in silence for a moment, Rodolphus's eyes wide and pleading and Bellatrix's narrowed into slits.

"Kiss me hard, then," she hissed at last, "because this will be the last time I let you."

)O(

Fin