Author's Notes: Written for Shira Lansys' Speed of Lightning Competition.
Your next prompt is "To Die For"
Enjoy! Enjoy the lack of abuse and the almost-kind-of actual happy ending… it's practically fluff by Gamma's Bellamort standards.
Bellatrix looked up immediately when the Dark Lord addressed her. He had scarcely looked at her throughout the meeting, and she had assumed that he was angry with her for some slight failure or transgression, but now he simply sounded cool and calm, not sounding angry in the slightest.
"Yes, my Lord?" she asked, her breath catching slightly as she gazed at him. He was standing up now, clearly indicating to the others that the meeting was over.
"I require your assistance," he told her.
"In my chambers."
Bellatrix flushed. The other Death Eaters turned to her quickly, and she could have curled up and died from sheer humiliation – there would be a fresh round of gossiping tonight while they discussed with sneers and jealousy what she and the Dark Lord did.
"Of course, my Lord," she murmured a touch breathlessly, standing up. She tried to avoid the gaze of the other men, all of whose eyes seemed fixed on her, glittering with lust. She did spare her husband one glance, just quickly enough to see him looking crushed when she moved past him.
"Come, Bellatrix," the Dark Lord told her, indicating for her to follow him through the doors, which she did eagerly. He swept up the long flight of stairs, treading the path – familiar to her now – to his bedchamber.
"My Lord," Bellatrix said meekly, hurrying to keep up behind him, "does it not bother you that all the men know about… about us?"
"If it did, Bellatrix, you can be quite sure that I would not allow it," he said calmly. "Why should it? We need not sneak about behind their backs like schoolchildren afraid of being caught…"
Bellatrix nodded quickly. "As you say, of course, my Lord."
He opened the door to his bedchamber and Bellatrix stepped inside, keeping her gaze upon the ground and setting immediately to undressing. She could feel his eyes on her, but dared not look at him for fear of him seeing how she felt – that she did feel like a schoolchild, like a slut…
She let her dress pool at her feet and stepped away, head bent and hands automatically moving to cover herself – for all the times he had seen her, she could not stave off the pangs of shame she was currently suffering.
"Bellatrix." His voice had turned sharp. "Do not hide yourself from me. You know better."
"I apologize, my Lord," Bellatrix whispered. She dropped her hands, balling them into fists at her sides and digging her nails into her palms, allowing him to look at her but still staring resolutely at the ground.
He sighed quietly.
"You are being a nuisance, Bellatrix. If this is how you wish to behave, then I can find a different whore… one who will not sulk if she feels that she is not being shown suitable respect."
The threat made Bellatrix's heart skip a beat and she looked up quickly, horror stricken. "My Lord, you would not… would you?" She had long feared that he would grow tired of her and find another woman, but the idea that he would lose patience with her because she was sulking had never even occurred to her. "My Lord, I– I would do anything for you, Master… please… please don't–"
"Pathetic," he hissed, eyes narrowing to slits. "I thought you to be above such whining and begging, Bellatrix. This grovelling is unattractive."
"I am sorry, my Lord…" she whispered, breathing deeply. "I only… I do not like being spoken of…" She bit down on her lip, mentally praying for him to understand. "I do not like that the other Death Eaters think of me as a whore."
"What they think of you is inconsequential," he said, but his voice was not as sharp as it had been before.
Bellatrix nodded. "I know, my Lord. I apologize," she murmured, brushing her hair back, forcing a small smile, and moving to undress him, assuming the conversation was over.
He was silent while she undid his robes, and did not meet her eyes while she stroked him to hardness and then led him to the bed. The routine was familiar, and Bellatrix was only mildly hurt that he did not keep his eyes on her – she had come to expect it.
Not once, while he lay atop her, thrusting with his familiar, steady rhythm until he let out a soft sigh and she felt a rush of hot liquid inside her, did he look at her, favouring instead a spot on the pillow just over her left shoulder. This did sting, but she did not complain, reminding herself that she should be glad that he had chosen her and not, as he had threatened, a different whore.
He pulled out as soon as he had finished, not concerned with bringing her to her own climax, and moved away from her, stretching out upon the bed. Bellatrix took a deep breath to calm herself, murmured, "Thank you, my Lord," then sat up to leave.
He stopped her, holding out one hand firmly. "Wait."
She hesitated, but lay back down on the bed, turning to him. The Dark Lord had never been one for post-coital talk – talk that, in any ordinary relationship, might have included murmured declarations of love – and she watched him nervously.
"Yes, my Lord?"
"Does it truly concern you that the others know that I have bedded you?" he asked, surprisingly quietly, watching her very intently.
"Yes, my Lord," she admitted. Her face burned with embarrassment, but she knew, from far more experience than she cared to admit, that he would only be angry with her if she were to lie to him.
He said nothing for a long while, in which Bellatrix all but held her breath, then he said, "If that is the case, then you may be sure there will be no more talk of it – from myself, or from them."
Bellatrix did not know what to say. Her mouth opened, but no words came out. The Dark Lord's thin lips twitched while he watched her, clearly amused by her surprised reaction.
"My… my Lord…" she managed at last. "I– you do not need to…"
"The Dark Lord rewards those who are faithful to him," he reminded her. "And you have been faithful as no one else has… surely that merits the reward of not being talked about…"
"My Lord," she whispered, finding herself smiling at his offer, almost laughing, even, "I would not hesitate to would die for you… being called a whore is nothing in comparison."