Author's Notes: Written for Shira Lansys' Speed of Lightning Competition on the HPFC forum.

I give everyone a universal prompt, that could be a word, a phrase, a genre, a character, a requirement... anything that pops into my head. Each person then gets frantically writing and submits their story by the end of the six day time limit.
Prompt: "Why do you love her/him and not me?"



Rodolphus glared at his wife. She was still speaking to the Dark Lord in hushed tones, standing in the doorway of his chambers, her body pressed all-too-close against his. Rodolphus could feel bile rising in his throat with every word he overheard from them.

"I trust you enjoyed yourself..."

"I did... it was so good tonight, my Lord, even better than usual..."

"And your husband?"

Bellatrix glanced over her shoulder, across the room to where Rodolphus awaited her, then smirked and dropped her voice even lower so that Rodolphus had to strain to catch it. But catch it he did.

"Oh, he'll be fine... I can handle him."

His temper flared. Handle me, can she? he thought, clenching his fists as the Dark Lord smirked and shut the door and Bellatrix sauntered over to him.

"Something wrong, Rod?" she drawled lazily.

"Oh, nothing!" he snapped. "Of course nothing's wrong. Why would anything be wrong? Just because I was watching my wife talking to her lover about how good he was in bed and how you were going to 'handle' me... why would that make me anything less than completely perfect?"

"You're a prat, Rodolphus, you know that?" said Bellatrix. "If it upsets you so much, then why do you let me do it?"

"Why do I- as if I could stop you!"

"Well, you don't exactly try."

Rodolphus felt tears rising in his throat and struggled to keep them down. "Of course I don't try! I wouldn't hurt you or force you, you know! Unlike him!"

Bellatrix let out a little snarl, but she did not deny it.

"I just don't understand…" Rodolphus whispered, looking at her desperately. "I don't understand! Why do you love him and not me?"

She looked utterly furious. "Why the hell do you think?"

"I don't know! If I knew, I wouldn't have asked! I don't understand what there is to love about him that I don't have!"

"Perhaps!" she hissed venomously, "perhaps I love him for the same reason you love her instead of me! Oh, and don't bother pretending, Rodolphus, I know you're sleeping with Narcissa." She smirked triumphantly as he flushed. "So," she considered, more calmly now, "since we're not even bothering to hide it, what's she like? Boring, I expect. Doesn't go in for all the things I know you like…" Bellatrix's lip curled. "I can't quite picture Narcissa enjoying being tied up and whipped…"

"Speaking of, Bellatrix," Rodolphus spat back, his own voice dripping with derision, "how do you and the Dark Lord work things out? Which one of you goes on top? I can't imagine either of you fancy submitting…"

"I gladly submit to the Dark Lord," Bellatrix drawled, a smirk crawling over her lips. "He can do what he wants to me – jealous, Rod? I'm sure that you don't have trouble getting Narcissa to lie down and take it, but I'm a little trickier, aren't I? And you don't want Narcissa to be the one… you want me… want to see me broken for you…"

"I'd rather see you broken for me than for the Dark Lord!"

"You're pathetic, Rod," Bellatrix sneered. "You know that, don't you? You know how pathetic this is? You can't complain about me having a lover when you're in my sister's bed every night. Not that I care – you're welcome to her – but, really, Rodolphus…"

"Shut your mouth!" he snapped. "How can you even speak to me like this when the whole bloody world knows you're bedding the Dark Lord?"

"It's not about me sleeping with him!" Bellatrix spat. "It never was! It doesn't matter who I'm sleeping with – it wouldn't even matter if I was faithful! You wouldn't ever be pleased because you won't ever have me, and that's what you want! You want to

own me, and you're never going to, and it drives you insane!"

"Don't you dare speculate about what it's like to be me!" Rodolphus hissed, his face flaming crimson. "Don't you dare act as though you know what it's like!"

"Don't I know what it's like, though?" It could have been Rodolphus's imagination, but he fancied that he heard her voice tremble just a little. "You were sleeping with Narcissa before we were even married. You were unfaithful first, you can't deny that!"

"It was different!"


"We were younger! I was stupid! She was stupid! What's the matter - are you the jealous one now? Do you expect me to believe that you're all upset because I prefer your sister in my bed to you?"

"Hardly," she sneered. "I just don't see how you can so rigorously complain about my infidelity when you were the one who started it."

"Are we six fucking years old now, Bellatrix?" Rodolphus exploded. "Don't you understand anything at all? Don't you understand what it does to me every time I see you coming out of the Dark Lord's chambers with that little self-satisfied smirk on your face? Don't you know what it's like, thinking of what he was doing to you in there and- and wishing- wishing that I was the one who had been allowed to... Don't you realize that when I go to bed with Narcissa, I only think of you? Do you expect me to believe that you think of me while the Dark Lord's on top of you? I know you don't - you don't even need to bother to explain! I can't blame you, can I?" His voice had raged to almost a shout. "I can't blame you for anything that you do wrong, because it always comes out as my fault in the end! I'm always the one who ends up getting all the blame so you can feel perfectly innocent while you let the Dark Lord fuck you!"

Bellatrix was silent for a long moment, apparently slightly stunned by Rodolphus's outburst, then, finally, her lips curled into a tight little smirk.

"Oh, I understand all that," she told him. "I just don't care."