Author's Notes: Written for the "Love" portion of Mrs Bella Riddle's Loved and Hated Ships Competition on the HPFC forum. Participants took two pairings – one that they love and one that they hate – and attempted to write both. My "Hate" pairing was Draco/Hermione.

Warning: Bloodplay


Bellatrix tried not to think too much about what would happen when the Dark Lord summoned her to his chamber. She dared not think too much about it, for she knew that she would only be disappointed.

But as she climbed the stairs after a meeting, following him up to his room, she could not help but imagine.

Imagine him closing the door behind her and sweeping her into an embrace. Imagine him pushing her against the wall as his hands roamed her body. Imagine him throwing her to the bed…

But no. He would never do any of those things. She was especially sure that he would never do those things to her – to a woman so recently initiated into his circle – to a woman who so obviously lusted after him.

But when he closed the door behind them and moved close to her, so close that she could feel heat from his body, she could not help but feel a glimmer of hope.

"I have not yet welcomed you to the fold," he whispered. His voice was low and had a nearly hypnotic effect upon her. She stared into his eyes – such beautiful eyes, dark and tinged with red, inhuman, more than human.

"I… I need no formal welcome, my Lord," she told him, but he lifted his hand and laid one long, slender finger against her lips. It silenced her immediately and her legs trembled a little.

"But a formal welcome you shall receive." He dropped his hand, brushing it against her shoulder, and the it was on her waist and he moved slowly to stand behind her, holding her against him in a hold akin to embrace.

"My Lord…"

Bellatrix's breath came in short, ragged gasps and her body shook as the Dark Lord drew her to him. His hands caressed her waist with a touch that came close to tenderness – far more tender, at any rate, than she would have expected from him – and then one arm wrapped securely around her waist and he whispered in her ear.

"Close your eyes, Bellatrix," he instructed her, and she did, letting them fall shut and her head relax back to rest on his shoulder while she relished the feeling of his arms around her, his chest pressed to her back, his breath against her ear. His hand pressed against her stomach and he pulled her even closer. She could feel every plane of his body pressing against hers.

And then she felt the knife.

Cold metal, sharp metal, pressed against her throat. Her immediate inclination was to jolt away, but she dared not do it, for she feared that she would slit her own throat upon the blade. And so she stood, unmoving, in the Dark Lord's half-embrace.

"My Lord?" she whispered, a touch of a tremor in her voice.

"Are you afraid, Bellatrix?" he whispered in her ear. She heard his knife whispering against her skin more than she felt it. "Are you afraid that I will hurt you? Do you expect me to? Do not lie to me, Bellatrix – I will know…"

"No, my Lord," she told him quietly. She was not afraid. She could not be afraid of him, because she knew that, if he did kill her, if he did slit her throat and let her bleed to death there, at his feet, that it would be the correct choice. He would not kill her if he did not deem it necessary, and he would not deem it necessary unless it truly was.

And so Bellatrix, in the Dark Lord's arms with his knife against her throat, was safer than she had ever been before in her life.

She felt the knife slide across her skin, felt the skin tearing open in its wake, though her mind registered no pain. The cut was but shallow, a superficial wound, far less than she was used to sustaining.

The knife fell away from her neck, and she felt the Dark Lord's fingers – his touch delicate and careful and practiced – running along the place where he had slit her throat. She opened her eyes when his hand left her throat, and turned to look at him as he examined his own fingers. They glistened crimson with her blood.

"Your blood is sweet, Bellatrix," he told her, his voice a low, tense murmur that Bellatrix knew not how to interpret. "Your purity becomes gloriously apparent." He slipped one finger into his mouth, sucking the blood off of it, and Bellatrix's knees weakened.

"I- I am not so pure as you, my Lord," she told him breathlessly. "You- you are like a God… and I am only a woman of flesh…"

"Flesh and blood," he acknowledged. "Yes… but the purest of blood, and likewise, the purest of flesh." His hand, licked clean, fell back to her waist. "You are pure enough for my desires, Bellatrix."

"Your desires, my Lord?" She felt dizzy at the very word and struggled to keep herself from showing how desperately she hoped that he meant what she thought that he meant.

For the first time, something akin to a smile crossed his face.

"My desires," he said, inclining his head. "You must have known, Bellatrix, my intentions when I called you here…"

"I… did consider, my Lord…" Her cheeks coloured and she ducked her head, not daring to meet his eyes. "I considered the possibility, but I dared not hope…"

"And wisely so," he said with a nod. "I would not have desired you had you proved yourself cowardly or if your blood did not taste so…" He trailed off, letting out a sigh of what she could only assume was pleasure.

"Undress yourself, Bellatrix," he said, seemingly gathering himself after a moment of distraction. "And," he added, indicating her throat, "I would be… much obliged if you would lie on the bed in such a way that your blood will not stain the sheets. I should hate for it to be wasted."