Author's Notes: Written for Round Three of the Shotput event in the 2012 Hogwarts Games – "Write a 1 000 word fic about your OTP"
The Dark Lord seemed fascinated by Bellatrix's appearance after fourteen years in Azkaban.
He called her to his chambers mere days after she had been sprung from the prison, and when Bellatrix entered, he looked at her with unabashed interest.
"My Lord?" Bellatrix hovered in his doorway, unsure as to whether he would like her to come in, whether he would like her to shut the door, whether she had been summoned for punishment or reward or some explanation of why he had left her in the prison for so long and what was to happen now that she was free.
He seemed captivated by her. He rose slowly and stepped forward, extending a hand to touch her cheek.
"You are alive," he breathed, so quietly that she thought that he was speaking to himself. "You are still alive."
"Of course I am, my Lord." Bellatrix felt heat in her cheeks and she looked down quickly. It did not seem quite right to look her master in his eyes. "I thought of you every day. Thoughts of you kept me alive."
"You are so loyal, Bellatrix…" He spoke with a sort of soft fondness that made Bellatrix all but melt into his arms. Never before had she heard anything so close to affection from him, much as she had desired it every day of her life. She wanted to fall into his embrace and cling to him and whisper that she would never have left him, never have lost faith in him.
His hands skimmed Bellatrix's face, exploring the newly sharpened planes and angles. He caressed her cheeks with something close to tenderness – more tenderness than she was accustomed to from him, in any case. Her breath caught when his finger skimmed down the length of her throat.
"So… so much more loyal than all the others," he continued. "All those who lost faith in me, all those who forgot about me – your brother-in-law among them…"
"My Lord," she whispered, voice choked with emotion. "My Lord, I thought of you constantly. My loyalty never faltered, I swear to you…" Tears were glazing her eyes and she swallowed, trying to keep her voice from betraying the depth of her emotions.
"I know." His hand was moving down past her neck now, and her eyes fluttered closed automatically when he laid it upon her breast. She had never expected to be touched like this again – she had thought that she would die alone in Azkaban, without ever feeling the Dark Lord's hands upon her again…
"You have served me so well, Bellatrix," he whispered, leaning forward so that his cold lips brushed her ear. "You deserve a reward…"
"Do I, my Lord?" A flush of pleasure rose upon her face, doubled when his other hand slipped to her waist, pulling her towards him. She wished with everything in her that he would press her against him, let her collapse into his arms and feel the beating of his heart and light ripple of tendons and muscles beneath his skin while he embraced her. Tears welled in her eyes at the very thought of being held so close by her Lord, after so long…
"W- what, my Lord?"
"What do you desire, Bellatrix?"
Anything. Give me anything. I will take anything from you, any reward from you would be perfect…
"Whatever reward you see fit to give me, my Lord," she told him – the practiced, half-true answer that she had long since learned was the only proper response to the question what do you desire? She would have adored to give an answer that was more honest (I desire you, my Lord), but she knew from more experience than she ever would have admitted to having that such a response elicited immediate scorn. And a punishment. There was always a punishment.
He placed two long, slim fingers beneath her chin and tilted her head back gently. "Look me in my eyes, Bellatrix."
She forced herself to raise her eyes enough to look at him directly. His eyes flickered beautiful deep crimson in the candlelight.
"What do you desire, Bellatrix?" he repeated, and his voice was firm and insistent.
"I- I desire- I desire nothing more than to serve you, my Lord." Another well-practiced lie, another answer that she had given time and time again to avoid punishment.
"I know that you are not being honest, Bella."
A shiver ran up Bellatrix's spine. He had stopped using her pet name after his initial rise to power, and she had expected never to hear it again. Her hands trembled and she fisted them in her skirts to stop herself from reaching out to touch him.
"This- this affection from you is all that I desire and more, my Lord." Her voice quivered and she dared not even look up at him. "I wish for nothing more than to please you and–"
He silenced her by pressing his fingers to her lips. Bellatrix drew in a sharp breath, and when his hand fell away, she would had no opportunity to ask what he was doing before his mouth pressed against hers.
Bellatrix stiffened automatically. It had been so long – so horribly long – since she had been kissed, and she had grown so used to the thought that the Dark Lord would never initiate such an intimate act with her that her first reaction was to think that he was not really kissing her at all, but that her mind had snapped and created a hallucination of him…
But when he drew back, his eyes dark with lust and his breath coming quickly and audibly, Bellatrix could not believe that.
"My Lord," she whispered shakily. "My Lord… what can I have done to deserve this – surely this is more reward than I am due…" Her voice broke and tears dripped down her cheeks.
The Dark Lord wiped them away.
"I have missed you, Bellatrix," he murmured. "Believe me when I say that I have."