Title: Motherless
Characters/Pairing: Voldemort/Bellatrix
Prompt: #26: Bella/Voldemort – She'd do anything for him, she tortures and murders for him. But when he comes to her with this particular request, can she do it? Can she be the loving mother he's never had? for hp_ageplay
Rating: R
Word Count: 4 440
Summary: The Dark Lord has diligently avoided sexual relationships for most of his life, but what he wants from Bellatrix is different from what one would ordinarily want from a lover. Very different.
Warnings: Sex, abandonment issues, little sociopath Tom, and arguably concepts related to an Oedipus complex.

Very nearly as soon as Bellatrix Black joined the Death Eaters, the Dark Lord became aware that she was of more interest to him than his other followers were. He frequently kept his eyes on her during meetings – and not only by choice, for he found himself at times quite unable to look away. When she reported success and he praised her, there was an extra note of pride in his voice. Once or twice, while she walked past him, he let his hand brush against hers, or against her waist, which made her shiver in delight, which in turn pleased him.

She was handsome enough, and for a time, he justified his interest in her as the healthy interest of any man interacting with a beautiful woman. But there were plenty of beautiful women in his life. Her sister, Narcissa, was much lovelier than her, and there was no shortage of ladies who – enamoured with his power – would gladly throw themselves into his bed. He could have had his choice of them, but none of them had quite the same look about them as Bellatrix. None of them were quite so physically attractive to him.

It was only after some time that it struck him that Bellatrix had features quite like his, and that realization perplexed him. He had never been terribly attached to his own looks, much though he had exploited them at times to get what he wanted. He was certainly not attached to his dark, wavy hair – very like hers – or the aristocratic tilt in his nose that all Purebloods seemed to share (and that he, by luck, must have inherited from his mother, for it was one feature that did not echo his dead father's). Those were qualities in himself that he would quickly have abandoned, and yet, in Bellatrix, they were the focus of some interest. Her eyes as well – lightless and shining as pieces of black stone, as his own – he found himself looking at frequently, and with interest. She was beautiful as he was beautiful.

Still, it was not immediately his perception that her features attracted him. He thought that any interest towards her that he felt was a combination of her looks and of the novelty of having a woman in the Death Eaters' ranks. He had had few women in his life, at any time – boys and girls had been kept separate in the orphanage where he grew up, he had had few friends at Hogwarts of either gender, and romantic or sexual relationships – particularly such relationships with women – had been something he had strictly avoided since. A woman was an unusual creature, as far as he was concerned – all those with whom he had interacted in the past had been professors, or matrons at the orphanage, and a woman twenty-five years younger than him was quite different from one old enough to be his parent.

The other Death Eaters looked on her with abject lust – he could see it written plainly on their faces when she leaned across the table to look more closely at him, or when she stood to demonstrate a curse, or even when she did nothing more than attend a meeting. Her breasts distinguished her from the rest of the group. The other men were not skilled at hiding how plainly they wanted her. The Dark Lord thought, at least, that he was not so obvious in his interest. He could wait until he had privacy to think about her.

And yet, when he did have privacy and did think about her, he found it quite a struggle to indulge in what he assumed were the usual fantasies men had about women like her. Imagining her underneath him was only mildly stimulating, and the rather more exotic dreams that he knew other Death Eaters – most notably those of her betrothed, Rodolphus Lestrange, who was particularly unskilled at Occlumency and who, therefore, the Dark Lord knew particularly much about the thoughts of – had about her perplexed him more than exciting him.

He should, of course, have taken this as plain indication that the interest he had in Bellatrix was mild and superficial, and that he had no real interest in her as anything more than a follower. And yet, when he was with her, he still found himself drawn to her. It was an uncomfortable state to be in, this halfway-place between wanting a woman and not wanting her.

Perhaps, he supposed, it would be wisest to let the attraction run its course. By suppressing it, by attempting to tell himself that he did not desire her – and failing, because there was a part of him, at least, that did – he was allowing her too much presence in his mind. He would take her to bed, he decided, and then either the attraction he had for her would be increased, in which case he would take her as a lover, or it would be satisfied, in which case the whole matter could be put behind him.

It had to be discreet; he required that. If, indeed, his interest in her did fade quickly after bedding her, he didn't want any suspicions about a relationship between them to form in the minds of his Death Eaters. It could harm their devotion to him if they thought he was lust-driven. Bellatrix, he expected, would keep the secret if he told her to, but if pressed, she might reveal something incriminating if they already suspected her.
And so he was quiet, nonchalant and casual when he caught her by her wrist as she passed him after a meeting, and he pulled her close enough to him that the Death Eaters just outside could not overhear and whispered in her ear, "I desire a… private meeting with you, Bellatrix."

"My Lord?" She looked up at him questioningly, but he could already see the excitement behind her eyes – she knew what was coming, even if she dared not voice it.

"In my chambers," he told her, in a voice so low that he had to lean close and whisper in her ear for her to hear it. The silly girl practically swooned in his arms at it and he felt a little twinge of revulsion – perhaps his interest in her would be easier to put to rest than he had anticipated.

"I trust your fiancé will not mind?" he asked quietly, a hint of mirth in his voice – as though Rodolphus would be able to stop them if he tried.

"I'm sure he will understand, my Lord," Bellatrix said, just as quietly. "I'm sure he will understand that my Lord needs me."

Needs.

No, not needs. Wants. Your Lord wants you.

He did not correct her, no matter how strong the urge. "Quite," he said instead, then tilted his head towards the doorway. The other Death Eaters were gone by then, and Bellatrix was quick to follow him out of the meeting room and upstairs.

He undressed himself – and her, for she seemed to think it romantic somehow to let him do it – and looked over her appraisingly. She was fairly beautiful without her clothing, though she was not without the awkwardness and vulnerability that necessarily came with standing naked in someone else's bedroom. He laid one hand on her breast and kissed her, more so that he would not have to look at her and would be doing something with his hands than because he had any wish to.

She did have very lovely breasts. The last breasts he had seen had been those of one of the women at the orphanage, nursing babies, and he – being well above nursing age at the time – had been quickly shooed away and not able to so much as have a proper look. He cupped Bellatrix's breast in his hand, ran his thumb around her nipple, and wondered vaguely whether she would ever have a child to suckle at it. She didn't seem much the mothering type – but then, how would he ever know what the mothering type was? For all he knew, Bellatrix was exactly the mothering type.

On a whim, when she was on the bed underneath him, he took her nipple between his lips and sucked on it, curious as to how it would feel. He half expected to get a mouthful of milk, no matter how well he knew that only women who had recently borne children gave milk.

"Oh…" Bellatrix purred, and she squirmed beneath him and clutched at his shoulders, digging her nails into the skin. "Oh, my Lord, that's wonderful…"

Lie still!

He didn't want her writhing about or talking to him. He wanted her to lie still so he could explore her, examine her – all of her, but her breasts in particular. Some men would probably derive enjoyment from knowing how they'd made her moan, but he didn't.

And with every passing second, the idea of actually doing what he had brought her here to do, actually opening her legs and- and having her became less appealing. But she seemed so eager, with her hips bucking up and her whole body shuddering against him with every breath she let out. Disappointing her now would be counterproductive.

He tried to be quick and straightforward with it. He couldn't imagine that it was terribly satisfying for her, but she moaned obtrusively about how good it felt, so perhaps it was after all. For him, the matter was awkward and ungainly at best, but he did find pleasure in touching her breasts while he worked at her – sometimes clutching them, sometimes stroking or just letting her nipples rest against his palms. He could feel her quick and heavy breathing and rapid heartbeat when he touched them.

How lucky a child would be to suckle at them.

He spilled in her with a quiet groan and extricated himself from her arms quickly, though she tried to cling to him.

"Master," she panted. "Oh, Master, that was… I've never… with anyone else…"

"You may go," he told her, and watched her face fall, but before she went, he did tell her, "This will not be the last time, I think, Bellatrix." That sent her out of the room with a smile.

He laid back against his pillow – now damp with her sweat, and smelling distinctly of her – and pondered.

Going to bed with her again was probably ill-advised. The act itself had been unpleasant, as he had long expected sex ordinarily was. But there had been certain aspects of the encounter that had pleased him – and, moreover, had interested him. Aspects that he wished to explore more fully.

And she, being a Death Eater, and therefore fully in his service, would not deny him. He could do as he wished to her – could ask as he wished of her – and she would do it willingly, because she was loyal. He shuddered to think how troublesome this situation might be if he had not had a faithful woman in his service.

When the Dark Lord summoned Bellatrix to his chambers next, she was more eager, less inhibited, but he found himself distinctly less eager to get on with lovemaking. Much as he enjoyed her presence – and particularly her appearance – the thought of actually having her again became more repulsive to him with every second that passed while she kissed him and ran her hands about him.

"Bellatrix," he said at last, rather sharply, and she stiffened.

"My Lord?" Bellatrix's voice was suddenly wary. Did she think she had done something to displease him? Most likely.

"Sit," he told her, indicating the bed, and Bellatrix sat. Her face – flushed with excitement and anticipation moments before – had gone pale.

"What is it, my Lord?" she asked tremulously.

Should he be irritated with her for her fear, or consider it an indication that she understood his power and be pleased? Perhaps the latter would suit the situation better. After all, if ever there was a time that it was of utmost importance that she remember that he was her Master and had all the power in the world over her, this was it. Given both the position they were in already, and the things he anticipated requesting from her, it was possible that she might call into question his supremacy, and that would be most inconvenient.

He didn't respond to her question, taking it for granted that she understood that she would know if she had done something wrong. Bellatrix looked fearful, but she didn't move away from him when he perched close beside her and she didn't cringe away from his hand when laid it on her breast.

"My Lord?"

She did look very like him, when he examined her closely. A very handsome woman indeed. And so young, as well. When he had been her age, he had still been labouring in the futile obscurity of Borgin and Burke's. When his mother had been her age, she had probably already been carrying him.

"What are your feelings towards motherhood?" he asked abruptly. Bellatrix's eyes widened. For a few moments, her mouth opened and closed helplessly, and then she managed to choke out a sentence.

"My Lord," she gasped, stumbling over her own words. "Are you- do you wish for me to carry your child?"

"Certainly not," was his immediate response. He abhorred the thought of having children of his own. Babies in general were terrible, squalling little creatures who were impossible to discipline and who commanded the irrational hearts of women everywhere. The matrons at the orphanage had always cooed over the youngest babies, no matter how hellishly they behaved. They had always had sweet words for them, and none for odd little Tom Riddle, who they said never really acted like a child. He had taken that as a compliment, then…

"No?" Bellatrix looked dreadfully disappointed. "Think of having an heir, my Lord – and I would do everything to shape it into the perfect–"

"No," he repeated firmly, and she fell into sullen silence. "I asked you a question, Bellatrix. What are your feelings towards motherhood?"

"Well, my Lord…" She seemed reluctant now to give answers – how quickly she had become attached to the idea of bearing his child. "Were it for your service, I would gladly have children, but I have no- no maternal urges of my own. My sister is more motherly than I am by nature."

"For my service," he echoed, more to himself than to her, but she seemed to take it as a question.

"Yes, my Lord, for your service. For your service, I would do anything."

"Quite."

That was the end of the discussion for the time, for he could sense Bellatrix becoming impatient, but while he made love to her, he pondered what she might consider service. A thought was forming in the back of his mind – a thought pertaining to Bellatrix, and to motherhood, and to service – but he was not yet prepared to give it voice. It was still too nebulous, and more than that, too strange.

––

It was some weeks – weeks frequently punctuated by sessions between the Dark Lord and Bellatrix, which he still found uncomfortable and unpleasant, but which seemed to spur her on to even more frenzied devotion to him – before he was able to put the right words to his thought and give it form. For her part, Bellatrix seemed unaware that there was anything on his mind when he was with her besides desire for her body. He allowed her that illusion.

Only when he could clearly articulate what he wanted from her, did he broach the issue.

Once again, he had her sit upon the bed, and this time, he took a place across from her, on a chair, to downplay any intimacy between them. The peculiarity of his request – peculiarity he was very conscious of, though he was unsure what Bellatrix's reaction to it would be – gave him reason to want this to be a businesslike discussion.

"I asked you once before about motherhood," he said, when she was settled and waiting – with less anxiety this time – for what he had to say. "You remember?"

"Yes, my Lord, I do."

"And you said that, while you feel you lack maternal urges, you would accept a position of motherhood if it was what I desired."

"Yes, my Lord. But," she added, "you said you were not interested in having me carry your child."

"That is quite correct."

"Then what of me and motherhood interests you?"

Ah. Now to the difficult part. He would approach the matter carefully.

"I trust that you already understand, Bellatrix," he said, slowly and deliberately, choosing every word with utmost care, "that what I am about to discuss with you is not to be repeated to anyone. What I say to you in private and what I ask you to do is to remain in strictest confidence."

"Of course, my Lord."

"You have heard rumours, I am sure, about my parentage? About my youth?"

Bellatrix ducked her head and shifted where she sat. "I- I have, my Lord," she admitted, then swiftly added, looking up at him with wild eyes, "But I believe none of it. The things that people say about you are little but confessions of their own jealousy."

"Your devotion is noted and appreciated, Bellatrix," he told her calmly. "But it is misplaced. What you have heard about my past is true at its core, though no doubt embellished by those who repeat what they have heard."

"But my Lord! A- a man such as yourself- the things they say, my Lord, can't be–"

"I did not spring from the earth fully-formed. I had a childhood, and it would be…" He paused to consider his word choice. "unwise to entirely disregard it. I am no God, Bellatrix, and I was certainly not one as a child. I was as susceptible to unfortunate circumstances as any other."

"I believe you possessed greatness even as a child!" Bellatrix told him passionately.

"Of course." Her devotion was good to see, though he was unsure whether it would continue when he reached the point towards which he was directing the conversation. "But not Godlike power. That is something I only strive for. And so I ask you, Bellatrix," he added, before she could interrupt, "what rumours have you heard regarding my childhood? Speak freely."

"I…" She hesitated, clearly doubting his indications that she should be honest. "They- they say that you were raised in a Muggle orphanage, my Lord," she managed at last, then blurted as if she couldn't keep the words back any longer, "They say that your father was a Muggle!"

"They are not wrong."

It was most strange to share this information. He had diligently guarded the secret from the time he was eleven onwards – if anyone asked about his heritage, he spoke of his mother's family or did not speak at all. The only rumours came from the few people who remembered that his surname was Riddle and took the time to look into families by that name. He neither confirmed nor denied – nor, indeed, acknowledged at all – their accusations of a Muggle background.

"To be quite clear," he continued, "to set rumours at rest and to alleviate any fears you might have that you've been going to bed with a Mudblood, my mother was a witch. She fell in love with a Muggle for reasons I cannot imagine, and she died in childbirth. I was raised in an orphanage until such time as I was sent to Hogwarts." He paused, appraising Bellatrix's reaction – she looked lost, stunned, a little frightened, but ultimately not distressed – and then continued.

"As such," he said, "there are certain experiences most take for granted that I have not shared, and I believe that this… lack of certain experiences… has had an adverse effect."

"What manner of adverse effect, my Lord?" Bellatrix asked weakly.

Ah. He had been hoping she wouldn't pry into that, for even he was not entirely sure what adverse effects he thought lack of a mother had had, and he was most certainly not prepared to share such corners of his mind with her.

"I find it difficult to understand some people's attachments to their families," he said, which was, at the least, not untrue. "It is… unintuitive to me that they should value family over their own safety, power, so forth." The sentiment seemed to resonate with Bellatrix, because she nodded, watching him seriously. "And I should think that, if I were to, ah, experience family as most children do, I would gain insight into their thoughts, if not take to sharing them."

"Oh." Bellatrix still sounded more dazed than anything. "I see. But what part do I play in this, my Lord? I fear I don't quite understand…"

"In this… intellectual exercise designed to assist in an understanding of enemies… I would have you act as my mother."

Bellatrix looked as if she didn't understand a word he had said. She blinked at him, her lips parting slightly and then pressing together, and then at last, she said, quite simply, "I don't understand."

"What part do you not understand?" He certainly hoped that he would not have to explain to her what he wanted from her as a mother. The reason behind the exercise as he described it to her was that he didn't know what to want from a mother.

"Why?" she asked. "Why do you want this? Why do you want me? My Lord…" she added, rather petulantly, "I share a bed with you. Do you think I am the best woman to act as some sort of- of surrogate mother to you?"

"I think you most certainly are." He spoke firmly, to remind her of his power over her, which he had gone to such great lengths to establish. "You are a woman, and a capable and loyal follower. I see no other necessary qualifications."

"I- I would try my best, my Lord." Still, she sounded doubtful. "But I think I would have difficulty in seeing you as anything but a Master and a lover. Seeing you as a son would- would be very different from that."

"I have confidence in your abilities of imagination." The Dark Lord was becoming impatient now. He had expected confusion and ambivalence from her, but expecting it did not mean that it was any less unpleasant to experience. "And as you do see me as a Master, allow me to make quite clear that this is an order."

Bellatrix ducked her head, and colour rose in her cheeks.

"As you say, my Lord."

"Good." With great effort, he composed himself, and said, softening his voice slightly, "Now, treat me as you would a child."

"Of what age, my Lord?" She sounded unemotional, and perhaps a little sullen.

He paused to consider. What age had he been when he had first become aware that other children received greater care than he did? What age had he been when he first heard whispers about what an odd boy Tom Riddle was?

"Five."

"And what should I do with you, my Lord?"

"Whatever a mother does to a child of five." What answer did she expect from him?

"My mother…" Bellatrix swallowed. "My mother frequently cradled my sister and sang lullabies. Is that what you wish?"

"Yes." He might as well say yes, though he wasn't entirely sure that it was. Being cradled sparked memories of when he was very small indeed – it had been a long time since he had allowed anything like cradling.

Bellatrix held out her arms awkwardly and he joined her on the bed at last, and rested himself in her stiff embrace. She was much smaller than he was.

After a few tense moments, he prompted, "A lullaby."

Bellatrix balked. When she did sing, her voice was stilted and not terribly on-key. The Dark Lord had heard better singers on Knockturn Alley's street-corners, doing it for a few ill-gotten knuts, but the experience was quite different from listening to them. He could feel Bellatrix's chest rising every time she took a breath, and as she went on with the song – so tuneless that he doubted he would have been able to recognize it, even if he had heard lullabies in his early years – her hold on him softened and relaxed.

He closed his eyes and monitored the sensation of having arms around him. It was quite different from the impassioned embrace Bellatrix had given him when they were between the sheets. It was, in fact, different from all the (albeit sparse) human contact he had experienced in the past. There was no urgency in her hold.

If this was what it felt like to be held by a woman only half-heartedly pretending to be a mother, what would a real mother's touch be like?

The Dark Lord had not been aware of any desire for a mother since he was very small. After he found out about her – most specifically, about her foolish decision to fall in love with a Muggle – he had scorned the woman who had given birth to him. But scorn or no, he suspected now, while in this shallow facsimile of childhood and motherhood, that he would have enjoyed at least this part of being a child with a parent. As it was, the underlying emotion in the situation was devotion – Bellatrix's devotion to him, even when he required something quite outside the line of duty from her – and the awareness that someone was devoted to him was always most pleasant. If he understood correctly, it was thus also with real parents. Real mothers were devoted to their sons in ways that he did not fully understand, but that he could certainly observe and appreciate the magnitude of. What a pleasure it would have been to have someone so deeply and mysteriously dedicated to him.

And it was true that most sons felt similar dedications to their mothers. But he would have been different, had he had the opportunity. He would have been as practical in his feelings towards his mother as he was in his feelings towards anyone else. Of that he was sure.

Reasonably sure.

Bellatrix has finished her lullaby, and he lay in her arms still. She must have been aware that he was not asleep, but she didn't move. Good.

She might have only a Death Eater's devotion to him – not a real mother's – but she was the closest he had. And so he would enjoy her as best he could.

)O(

Fin