Author's Note: Wow. I mean... wow. I was not expecting to receive such a warm welcome back... :') Thanks everyone for reading this still, your reviews really made my day *hugs you so tightly you can't even breathe* ! Well. I wasn't entirely sure I liked the last chapter, but you seemed to enjoy it, and thus I'm really, really happy. You guys are awesome. Honestly I am not quite sure about this chapter, either. I was fairly confused while writing it -as the title suggests -.- - and I had not yet decided were I actually wanted to go with it. My first option was some Bella / Rabastan and other Death Eaters interaction, and my second was Bella / Voldemort interaction. As I figured out most of you would like some Bella/Voldemort better, I decided to go with the second option, although it was considerably harder to write... Oh well. I hope you'll enjoy it! Let me know if you want me to continue this chapter from where I left it in the next one! ;) By the way, there is anther Author's Note in the end of the chapter, please read it! It's important! Anyway… Reviews are cherished!
Confusion rainin' down from up high
And all the time you ask yourself, why?
Why can't you make decisions?
Can't make up your mind
Although you're trying hard to forget
The reason why you feel so misled
~The Zutons, "Confusion"
When Bellatrix exited her bedroom next morning, she was not surprised to find she was alone in the house. The Dark Lord had obviously left - no doubt for some business of great importance she had no reason of messing with. Since she had first come here, every day was the same, but instead of walking downstairs, Bella always remained in her room since she was still considered too weak from her illness to wander around. Thus the Dark Lord had no qualms about leaving her alone in the house, since she would not leave the chambers.
Today it was different, though. Bellatrix felt considerably better than last night, and the conversation between her and Rabastan had really helped her clear the haze in her mind and see how things really were.
In all honesty, she had not expected such a reaction from Rabastan. When he had asked her if she had really killed Rodolphus, Bellatrix had prepared herself for an argument, a duel even, but nothing happened. And when he had embraced her, she had truly been in a loss of words. Now she was more than grateful for Rabastan's behaviour, and she was glad to know that her former enemy was now her ally, a person with whom she could go through all this together.
When Bellatrix reached the ground floor, she realized she was hungry, which actually shocked her. She had not felt the urge to eat for weeks now and she only consumed food because the medi-witch instructed her to. However now she felt much healthier, and she wondered whether it would be disrespectful toward her Lord to just walk into the kitchen and make some food.
She stood there pondering for a few seconds before she decided that it would really cause no harm to just make some food for herself. If the Dark Lord returned at night, would she have to famish? No, she thought.
She made her way into the kitchen but froze in her tracks when she spotted a large swirling mass on one corner. It took her a moment to realize it was Nagini, and she let out a soft exclamation. The damned snake always appeared out of nowhere, in the most uncommon of places -that is, when it was not curled around its master's shoulders.
Bella had never really liked the snake, although she was generally quite fond of serpents. She considered them to be noble, in a way -Slytherin's symbol was a snake, after all. There was something about Nagini, however, that appalled her, or perhaps scared her, even. The snake looked more like a human rather than animal to Bellatrix -the way she seemed to be perfectly aware of the people surrounding her, the way she conversed with the Dark Lord...
Once Bellatrix had even felt jealous of the snake. As soft-headed it may sound, it was the truth, as Bella felt rather spiteful knowing the snake spend so much time with the Dark Lord when she was excused from his presence whenever he grew tired of here.
The witch passed by the snake without sparing it a second glance and walked over to the cupboards, were she hoped she would find some food. The notion was quite peculiar, actually. She had never seen her Lord engage in common human activities such as eating or sleeping, but she was sure he must eat at times. Although she knew he was far above any mere human, it would be rather bizarre to know that he did not eat.
Hesitantly she opened the first cupboard, but it was empty, but for a jar that contained a mud-looking substance Bellatrix had no intention of eating. She opened the second cupboard as well, but it too was empty and dusty, causing Bella to lose all hope of finding anything comestible in there.
She hovered for a second, thinking of what she was going to do, even if she did find food in the kitchen. Bellatrix had never cooked before in her entire life -she had never really had to. Ever since she was just a baby, it was the house-elves that prepared the food in her house, and things were no different when she attended Hogwarts, were food was always ready in her plate. And when she married Rodolphus, her husband had made sure to have at least three house-elves at a time in the house, ready to prepare whatever she wanted, or else he would take her out to a restaurant.
In other words, Bellatrix had not the slightest idea how to cook food properly. She was about to get desperate, her stomach protesting wildly, when she heard a knocking on the front door.
She froze, thinking of who it might be. Surely, it was not the Dark Lord -why would he ever knock before entering his own house? She quickly concluded it must be some Death Eater, after all no person without the Dark Mark could get past the gates of the manor.
She pondered what she should do for a second. If someone was knocking, then he surely wanted to speak to the Dark Lord, but he was not here. If she opened, she might be punished for allowing someone to enter the Dark Lord's house without his permission. On the other hand, she might be punished for not letting someone who had something important to report.
After a few seconds' thought, Bellatrix decided on opening the door and at least see who it was. She had just left the kitchen, though, when she realized she was still in her nightgown, so she rushed upstairs to the bedroom the Dark Lord had granted her and quickly changed in a pair of simple black robes -the same she was wearing when she first came here.
She ran down the stairs hastily and she was at the door in an instant. She stood there uncertain, just for a minute before she finally stretched out her arm and opened the door, curious to see who of the Death Eaters had come to see the Dark Lord.
The surprise she felt when she saw the man standing in the doorway was also painted across his face when he saw her.
The young man had been a Death Eater for only about a year, just out of school and still young and inexperienced. However, he seemed to be ascending quickly in the Death Eater ranks, much like Bellatrix had back when she was still a recruit, and the fact only served to annoy the witch.
Bellatrix did not like Severus Snape. This was mainly because the Dark Lord seemed to be quite interested in his new Death Eater, to a point Bellatrix had actually started to question her Lord's judgment in spite of herself. Snape was not as skilled a dueller as she or many other Death Eaters were, and his knowledge in the Dark Arts was fair, but not vast. She did not know how he could serve the Dark Lord any better than she could, but she preferred to keep these thoughts to herself.
After all, the Dark Lord always allowed her to sit in his immediate right or left, along with Lucius Malfoy –the Dark Lord's apparent second in command. Snape always sat somewhere at the middle of the table, and he had not yet been assigned with any major task or mission, like Bellatrix had so many times before, so that meant she was not in danger of losing favour with the Dark Lord.
"What are you doing here?" Bellatrix demanded sharply, blocking the doorway. For some reason, she did not want to let the man in.
Snape arched an eyebrow as his eyes wandered questioningly over her face. "I was about to ask you the same thing," he commented icily. "It is, after all, the second time I find you here."
"That is not any of your business, Snape," Bellatrix hissed, as menacingly as she could. "Why have you come here?"
"I happen to have an appointment with the Dark Lord," Severus replied. "And I do not want to be late, so if you could be so kind as to move…"
"The Dark Lord is not here," Bellatrix said sharply, choosing to ignore Snape's sarcastic tone.
"I am aware of that."
Now it was Bellatrix's turn to frown. "Then why are you here?"
"I was instructed to come to the Dark Lord's manor and wait for him… by the Dark Lord himself. I trust you will not choose to defy the Dark Lord?"
Bellatrix scoffed. "Of course not, Snape," she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Please, do forgive my impertinence and come in."
Snape smirked and accepted her "offer", dusting his robes before walking in the house and straight into the parlour with long strides.
Bella felt anger bubbling inside her at Snape's barefaced behaviour, but she clenched her teeth and forced herself to remain calm and tranquil –two traits she had never quite managed to master.
When she too found herself in the parlour, Severus Snape had already taken his seat on one of the plush couches, his fingers braided together and an expectant expression on his face.
"I see that you've already made yourself comfortable," Bellatrix commented coolly as she too sat down, straightening her skirts as she did so.
"Indeed," Snape smirked. "Why, Bellatrix, won't you offer me a drink?"
"In case you have not noticed, Severus, I am not the landlord here," Bellatrix sneered at him, leaning back on the couch.
"Yet you're the only one here," Snape commented, letting his eyes wander around the room. "You still have not told me, Bellatrix, why is it the second time I find you in the Dark Lord's manor, when you have such a lovely home of your own to reside?"
Snape's sardonic smirk implied he was rather suspicious, but Bellatrix would not give him the satisfaction of understating her like that. It was clear what he thought –that she was only here to… please the Dark Lord. Although he had not dared say such thing, Bellatrix was sure he was thinking about it.
"Why, Severus, are you the Dark Lord?" she inquired, arching an eyebrow.
"Apparently not, Bellatrix."
"Well then it is not your business. Am I right Sevvie?"
Snape puckered his thin lips and a flash of anger lit his eyes, but it was gone as suddenly as it had appeared. "Or course, Bellatrix."
They resumed their previous state, sharing a rather inconvenient silence, occasionally letting their eyes flicker to each other, until they heard the main door open and close softly.
Bellatrix tensed, knowing that the only one who could have entered the manor without knocking first would be the Dark Lord himself. Unlike her, Snape appeared considerably tranquil, as if he were to meet an old friend.
Seconds later, the tall and slender figure of the Dark Lord appeared in the entrance of the parlour. He was wearing everyday plain black robes, as if he had just gone to a near pub and returned. His bloodshot eyes wandered from Bellatrix to Severus, and Bellatrix fancied she saw the corners of his lips pursing into a small smirk. Obviously he had sense the tension between them… and found it rather amusing.
"Bella, Severus," he acknowledged, and Bella thought she felt Severus grimace slightly at the use of her pet name by the Dark Lord. If he was indeed suspicious of her sleeping with the Dark Lord, then the pet name had only served to enhance his suspicions.
Voldemort, however, did not seem to notice –or perhaps he chose not to comment on that. "What a… pleasant surprise, it is indeed, to find the two of you sitting here…"
Bellatrix looked away, only now remembering what she had done last night. She felt heat flood her cheeks as she remembered her lips touching his, not allowing him to say what he wanted, and then simply leaving… She bit her lower lip. How the hell had she forgotten about that? Surely she would be punished for it…
"I do recall granting Bella permission to reside here for a while, Severus, but I thought our meeting was not scheduled for before noon.
Bellatrix saw Snape stiffen, and she resisted the urge to smirk triumphantly. She did not know if the meeting was indeed scheduled for noon or not, but the effect the Dark Lord's words had on the man were evident, and she just wanted to laugh at Snape's obvious discomfort.
"My Lord… I found out only today that I will be rather busy at noon, so I thought that there would be no problem if I showed up a little earlier…"
"You will be back here at three o' clock sharp, Severus. You may be busy then, but I am quite sure that whatever… business it is that you have, it can wait."
"Of course, my Lord." Severus stood up and started for the door, but not before casting Bellatrix an ice-cold glare. She was now grinning widely at Snape's rejection, and did not bother to hide it.
After Snape had left the manor, the Dark Lord proceeded to take a seat next to Bellatrix, who halted nervously and clenched her hands into fists, her previous mirth now replaced by concern.
She looked away from her Master, but she could still feel his eyes probing into her, and she couldn't take it any more.
"My Lord, I-" she started, her voice uncharacteristically high-pitched, but Voldemort raised a hand and the small gesture was enough to silence her.
Bellatrix searched in her Lord's face for a sign that would betray what he was thinking, but he remained expressionless, his bloodshot eyes locked with her dark ones. It took a great deal of effort from Bellatrix to erect barriers in her mind, in order to prevent him from probing her mind. Usually she hated keeping secrets from him and trying to keep him away from her thoughts, but now it was different.
"Bellatrix," he spoke finally, and his voice was oddly soft, but still cold and emotionless.
"My Lord," she muttered, lowering her gaze to her lap. "About... About last night..." she started, but she found it difficult to continue.
"Yes, Bellatrix?" he prompted. "What about last night?"
"Master, I wanted to say..." Bellatrix managed to find some courage and lift her eyes to his. It wasn't easy. "I wanted to say that I am sorry, my Lord, terribly sorry." Her voice came out strained, but she did her best to not show fear in the presence of the Dark Lord.
"You are sorry, Bellatrix," Voldemort hissed, and Bella bit her lower lip, forcing herself not to look away from him. She could not appear weak. "What exactly are you sorry for?"
Bellatrix took a deep breath, as if to steady herself, and he fingers clutched at the fabric of her skirt. She hated it when he pressed on her whenever she had done something wrong and had to admit it. He always waited until she had confessed and apologized, and it was far worse than punishing her physically, like he had done so many times before.
"I am sorry, my Lord... I mean I apologize... About kissing you... And leaving your presence without your permission..." it was hard to talk, but she clenched her teeth and tried to ignore the fear that was bubbling in her stomach.
Voldemort's eyes remained on hers, his gaze steady yet formidable, opposing to her quivering one.
She remained still, waiting for him to speak first, until she couldn't take it any more. "My Lord, I am sorry, I am sorry, I did not know what I was doing, and I did not mean to cause offense, I-"
She instantly fell silent at the use of her pet name, and for a fleeting moment, she thought he might not be that furious with her. "Master," she murmured.
"You are... overreacting."
"My Lord?" Now she was confused.
"There is no need for such sniveling apologies. You are only making a fool of yourself this way."
"I... Of course, Master," she tentatively nodded, and lifted a hand to wipe the tears that had sprung from her eyes. Her Lord did not want her to be weak in front of him, and so she would not be.
"You seem to have recuperated well," he commented, changing the subject, much to Bella's surprise.
"I... Yes, thank you, my Lord. It was only because of your charity to allow me in your manor... Thank you, my Lord."
"Of course," the Dark Lord nodded, his eyes never leaving Bella's. "Now that you are healthy again, I see no reason why you should reside here any longer. I believe you are capable of returning to your Death Eater duties."
"Yes, my Lord," Bellatrix agreed, struggling to hide her disappointment and the trembling in her voice, caused from a sob that threatened to escape her lips. "You are right, of course."
She had hoped the Dark Lord would allow her to stay here... How foolish had she been?
"You do not wish to leave my house." He said, and it was not a question. It was an ascertainment.
"Why is that?"
"My Lord I… I just don't… I do not want to leave your presence, my Lord," Bella said finally, and it was not entirely a lie. She did want to be in her Master's presence. Despite everything he had put her through, the only place Bella actually felt safe in was her Lord's house.
Voldemort considered her for a moment, before speaking again. "And what makes you think the feeling is mutual?"
His words stung harder than any curse would have, and she struggled to stop the already forming tears from streaming down her face. She should have expected this. Of course he did not want her. Why would he, after all? She had failed him in so many ways…
"If… If you do not wish me to remain here, my Lord," she begun, and with every word she said she felt like she was placing yet another heavy burden upon her shoulders, "then I shall do as you wish and leave, my Lord."
Her voice trailed off and she only realized she was crying when she saw a single tear dropping on her lap. She hastily brought her hand up to her eyes to wipe the tears off before the Dark Lord scolded her for displaying such weakness, but she felt cool fingers wrap around her wrist and stopping the advance of her hand.
Her eyes widened as she looked up at her Lord, who was now frowning at her, his cold demeanour now replaced by something resembling curiosity.
Bellatrix felt goosebumps erupt where he was touching her and her own hand clenched automatically into a fist. "My Lord?" she dared question in a trembling voice, unaware of his intentions.
"Why are you acting like this?" he asked finally, his voice void of all emotion, but Bella fancied she had detected the slightest hint of concern in his voice. But it could have been just her imagination…
"My Lord? What do you mean?" she asked tentatively, afraid she might have made a wrong choice of words.
"One day you're crying and begging… The other you're silent and downhearted… What is wrong with you, Bellatrix?" He leaned forward, just a few inches, but it was enough to make Bella's heartbeat increase twofold. "Has your husband's death really affected you that much?"
Bellatrix was in a loss of words, staring at her Lord with eyes wet wide open, her wrist still in his gentle yet firm grip. "M-master… He… Rodolphus… He belongs to the past now, my Lord," she said, hoping she had said the right thing. However Voldemort didn't seem to believe her, and it made her heart sink.
"You are lying," he stated simply, his crimson eyes boring into hers. "Last night you were thinking of him… And you were talking about him with his brother."
Bellatrix's mouth opened but no sound came out, and so Voldemort continued. "Did you love him, Bellatrix?"
"Did you love your husband, Bellatrix?"
Bellatrix dared pull her hand out of his grip and placed it on her lap, casting her gaze downwards. Had she ever truly loved Rodolphus? Yes, she had told him she loved him once, but was it for real? Or was she just seeking comfort after a painful rejection from her Master?"
She lifted her eyes to the Dark Lord's once again. "No," she whispered, and she hoped she was telling the truth. "I never loved Rodolphus."
Voldemort nodded, seemingly believing her.
"You should know, Master, that-"
"Yet you still think of him."
Bella fell silent and clenched her jaw. She dared not speak, out of fear of having angered him again.
"Is that a lie?"
Bellatrix shook her head slowly, hesitantly, and her breath caught when he leaned close to her, his face mere inches away from hers. He was so close she could have kissed him if she chose, but she knew that would be foolish. She wouldn't do the same mistake as last night again…
Bellatrix drew a small breath before finding the courage to speak. "No, my Lord. But I will forget about that traitor. I promise I will."
Before she knew what was happening, his lips were on hers, cold and demanding and full of passion. She wasted no time in responding to the kiss, moving her lips eagerly against his, her arms flying out to wrap around his neck and pulling him closer to her.
Surprisingly, he did not object, instead his own hands gripped her shoulders tightly and pushed her back onto the couch, holding her firmly in place. She made no move to escape and she moaned against his mouth before he broke the kiss and loomed over her, his breath hot on her face.
"You will forget about your husband," he said softly, and she could do nothing but nod, only wanting his lips to return on hers.
"Y-yes, my Lord," she muttered and another gasp escaped her lips as she felt his hand on her breast and his cold lips on the tender flesh of her neck. "Master," she moaned and leaned in to his touch.
A.N/ Kinda small chapter it was, but I promise next one will be better, and longer. But I really do need your help right now… I cannot choose a suitable ending / later plotline for this story. What I mean is, I can't decide whether I want to focus more on Bellamort or not… One alternative is have Voldemort and Bella develop some sort of a more sexual relationship, but, you're warned, it won't be all lovey-dovey and romantic and happy. This is Voldemort we're talking about, after all. The other option is have Voldemort develop a more mentor –protégée / confidential relationship with Bella, and Bella building her romance life once again and marrying someone else. And, the last option is have a more "tragic" outcome of the story, with Voldemort actually rejecting Bella. I know it's kinda early for this, since we're just in the fifth chapter, but the plot of the following chapters actually depends on what I'll decide for the story now… Just remember, there is no way I'll have Voldemort actually falling for Bella, since that could never happen. As I've told you, I REALLY value your opinion, so I would greatly appreciate it if you could tell me what you think by leaving a review. It will really help me, and it will also help you see the story develop into something you'd like to read! :D