Author's Notes: Written for the "Auditions" round of Fanfic's Got Talent II on the HPFC forum. The task was to write a drabble (less than 500 words) with one's OTP.

400 words.

)O(

"You displease me sometimes," the Dark Lord told Bellatrix one evening.

It stung Bellatrix more than she could have explained or justified (even to her own mind) when the Dark Lord made such comments to her. She lowered her head, biting her tongue to keep herself from sobbing out a protest that she did nothing but work tirelessly pleasehim, she tried with every moment of her life to do as he desired of her and that it was unfair of him to be displeased by her still.

But she didn't say what she thought because she knew that he would call it childish of her – and he would be right – and she simply murmured, "What may I do to please you further, my Lord?"

He beckoned her closer and she knelt before him, her eyes upon the floor in front of her because she didn't dare look up and see the way he glared down at her with righteous contempt.

"You simper before me," he told her, "and so have you done since Azkaban. You have behaved with such weakness – if I desired the service of such a pathetic woman, I would have chosen your sister for a Death Eater."

"Azkaban took a toll upon me, my Lord," Bellatrix murmured, fighting back an urge to snap that if he wanted Narcissa, he could have her – what could she, Bellatrix, have done to stop him?

"And so it did upon all the others who were there with you, but they have recovered, and you are still the mess you were when you were first released."

"I shall try to do better…"

"See that you do." The Dark Lord stooped and caught her chin in his hand, raising her head so she was looking up at him, and though she flinched automatically and tried to pull away, he held her firmly in place until she dared to look straight into his eyes. "It would, after all, be a terrible tragedy for my most faithful Death Eater to continue to be so dreadfully… useless."

It felt to Bellatrix as though she had been stabbed in the heart, and tears sprung to her eyes automatically.

"Do you think me useless, my Lord?"

"I do," he said firmly, carelessly, without any of the emotion that Bellatrix would have wished for. "If that perturbs you, see that you do better so I needn't think it."

)O(

Fin