Author's Notes: Written for ReillyJade's Ready, Set, Write Challenge on the HPFC forum with the character Antonin Dolohov.



The night, Antonin thought, idly watching his fellow Death Eaters down their drinks and converse in low voices about insignificant things, was dull. He had no interest in hearing Lucius Malfoy talk about how he had purchased new drapery for his ballroom or Bellatrix brag at every opportunity about how the Dark Lord preferred her to any of them.

The stuck up whore.

"Bellatrix," Antonin said loudly, cutting across Lucius's prattle about the benefits of silks versus velvets in curtains, "tell us… why are you so convinced that you are the Dark Lord's favourite? Why should you believe that you are any closer to him than I am?"

"You think too highly of yourself," Bellatrix said, bristling. She slammed down her drink, glaring at Antonin. "The Dark Lord would not favour you. You have done nothing for him."

"There are other things that a Death Eater can do for the Dark Lord besides join him in bed," Antonin said, arching an eyebrow and sneering when Bellatrix went red. "Not that you would ever have to consider that, Bellatrix…"

"Watch your tongue," she hissed. "If you believe that I only bear the Dark Mark because I bedded the Dark Lord–"

"Oh, I'm sure that that is not the only reason… I'm sure you had to do much… much more than just bed him…"

Her cheeks turned positively crimson as Lucius Malfoy tittered and Rodolphus glared at the table, his jaw set. Rabastan reached under the table to squeeze his brother's hand. Antonin leaned back in his chair, sneering lightly.

"I'm sure the Dark Lord would be fascinated to hear this," Bellatrix managed at last. "I'm sure it would interest him greatly to know that one of his men believes he is so weak as to award a woman a position among his ranks merely because she slept with him."

"Do you intend to tell him, then?" Antonin asked. "I would have thought, dear Bellatrix, that you would have preferred him not to know that others know about your affair…"

"Do you think he does not know what people think of him?" Bellatrix demanded. "The Dark Lord knows every thought that crosses the minds of his Death Eaters – if you have been thinking that he and I are– are lovers– then you may be sure that he knows!"

"Is this meant to frighten me? If the thoughts troubled him, I imagine that he would have… spoken to me… about them, and not allowed his whore – oh, excuse me, his 'most faithful servant' – to do it for him…"

"My wife is not his whore!" Rodolphus burst out. He grabbed Antonin by the front of his robes, dragging him forward and shaking him violently. "Do not speak to her like this! I swear, if you say one more word–"

"Leave it, Rodolphus," Bellatrix said. "He is not worth it."

"He insults you–"

"I do not need your help, Rodolphus," Bellatrix said disdainfully.

"At anything…" Antonin added, with a suggestive sneer. Rodolphus's face turned an even darker shade of scarlet than his wife's, and had Rabastan not whispered something in Rodolphus's ear that seemed to calm him, Antonin suspected he would have been in for a sound beating.

"Perhaps the time has come for a change in subject," Rabastan said softly, once Rodolphus had let go of Antonin.

"Oh, there is no need…" said Lucius Malfoy. "No, Bellatrix, tell us all about the Dark Lord…"

"I will speak no more about him," Bellatrix said, with all the dignity she could muster, though her face was still flushed crimson and her hands shook as she clenched them into fists. "But… Rodolphus… she said, turning to her husband with a little smirk, "Why do you not tell us some stories about Narcissa? I'm sure that if Lucius is curious as to what I and the Dark Lord do, he would be even more interested to hear about you and her…"

Antonin sat back with a smirk and sipped his drink, watching as Lucius's face drained of all colour and Rodolphus flushed crimson.

It was so easy getting these men to fight – Antonin occasionally wondered how the Dark Lord managed to unify them in anything.