Bellatrix lay silently against the slab of the cold, stone wall; her stomach churned as she waited for her punishment. How could she, the greatest servant of them all, have failed him? Voldemort, the man she loved so dearly, and feared so greatly was disappointed in her. No betrayal was worse than the knowledge that her beloved was displeased. If only he knew that her devotion exceeded that of incantations and assignments, if only he knew that the moon rose, and the stars shined only on him. If only he knew...
Bellatrix's dark mark surged with a fire; pain shot through her arm. She knew the pain her master would inflict far exceeded this minor inconvenience. She held a deep breath as the windows and curtains flew open. A black aura descended upon the whimpering witch. It fell away to reveal Lord Voldemort in all his wicked glory. Bellatrix averted her eyes, afraid to meet his cold, reptilian stare. She fumbled with a loose string on her bodice, she prayed that her Lord would be merciful, but she couldn't help but believe it was an empty desire.
"Rise, Bella. Are you too good to acknowledge your master when he stands before you?" Voldemort's high, lifeless voice rang against the walls of Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix obliged and stood before Voldemort. She pushed a strand of her thick, tangled hair out of her eyes and stared into his. The red tint of his pupil, the serpentine reflection, his nostrils flat against his ghostly face. Bellatrix couldn't fight the feelings of attraction coursing through her. Voldemort's face remained expressionless as he lifted her arm to him. The fire in her arm became unbearable as his thin, spindly fingers traced the serpent on her arm.
"What does this symbol mean?" Voldemort asked
The words were caught on Bellatrix's tongue, but her mouth refused to open. Voldemort's eyes flashed with anger.
"Bellatrix, answer me or you will soon find this very symbol hovering over your corpse!"
The words shot from her mouth in a flood.
"I failed, my Lord, but not in devotion to you. I will kill Potter, not for myself, but your grace."
"Kill Potter? You? Please, don't make me laugh. You couldn't even dispose of a filthy mudblood, how am I supposed to trust you with my very vessel. No, your failure shall not go unpunished. You have disappointed far more than that worthless Malfoy."
"My liege, please forgive me." Bellatrix found herself pleading, but there was a change in her voice. She was pleading, but not for her own life, "I too protect your existence. A far more valuable asset than any half-blood heathen."
Voldemort's eyes twinkled with curiosity. Bellatrix shot her hand up to his and traced her stomach with his fingertip.
"I carry the final vessel of your existence, growing inside me is the future of our empire. We have heard the oracles; we've seen the signs…is it not important that you have someone to carry on your great name. An heir to our legacy? Harry Potter will survive, but the child of the most powerful dark wizard and witch will pose more than a challenge to the "Boy who lived." The boy, who lived, shall die at the hands of our flesh and blood. Strike me down, berate me…but you are putting your immortality in jeopardy."
Voldemort yanked his hand from her grasp; he turned briskly from the witch and crossed to a window. He pushed the glass open. For a moment his eyes remained fixed on the night sky. He took a raspy breath and lifted his wand into the air. Green sparks flew forth and formed a serpent and skull above the turrets of the house.
"Bellatrix, come to me." He hissed. She took a deep breath and stepped forward. She took his outstretched hand and he gently pulled her closer.
"This, all of my work, will not fall at the hands of a seventeen year old boy, and there will be no need for an avenger, for I shall remain truly immortal. You are a most loyal servant, and the son of the Dark Lord would surely be an asset, but all dynasties bring forth a power struggle. Be it you, or the child, one of you will one day try to remove me from my throne. This, I cannot allow."
"Bellatrix, your devotion to our cause is not in question, but this will not stand."
"Volde…" She caught herself before the name slipped out further, his eyes flashed toward her viciously.
"My lord, with all due respect, perhaps you are leaving a valuable window open, a chance to live on in death. This child is the key to becoming a God amongst mortals."
"I have cheated death once, what makes you think I can't do it again?"
"You are growing weaker, and as I've seen myself, Potter is growing stronger. I'm giving you the chance to cheat death permanently, no matter how the events unfold."
Her case was growing weaker, and she more desperate. It was becoming clearer to both of them that she was now fighting for the life of both her child and herself. With each passing word, she found herself staring down a loaded gun.
"Love may not have created him, but passion did. Something that neither of us lack. He will have the best of both of us, your cunning and my loyalty. There will never be a greater testament to your power, my Lord."
Voldemort's eyes flashed with a mix of anger and curiosity. He shoved Bellatrix aside; she fell to the floor silently.
"I forbid this from going any further! If the child is to be my heir, then I will be forced to end his rule here and now. There is but one Dark Lord, and it shall remain as such until the end of time."
"Do what you will, but hear me now. No matter your arrogance, you and I will not survive another battle with Potter. I sense it, as I know you must, we are on borrowed time. Our end is coming!"
Voldemort raised his wand; red sparks flew from the tip and into Bellatrix. She howled in pain.
"Crucio!" Voldemort shouted; the sparks began to flow more readily. He continued to torture the only woman that had ever allowed herself to love him. Tears welled in her eyes, but her screams had silenced. Bellatrix forced herself to accept the fact that perhaps her child was better off not experiencing his father's rage. She, the infamous villainess that she was, could not deny her instincts for her child. The only escape she could offer him, was that of his inevitable death. She knew the spells to deflect his, she even knew a few that could beat him, but her hands never touched the handle of her wand. The pain shot through her, and her stomach clenched and cramped. She let out a scream that had nothing to do with the magical agony, but of the natural pain of womanhood. Her black dress began to feel wet, as blood and fluid flowed forth. She felt what was left of her humanity seep out with that of the life of her child. Even the darkest witch couldn't avoid the pain of losing her baby. She dipped her finger in the mess, and wiped it on the outside of her corset. It shined against the dark material; a testament to her goals. The true crest of the Riddle family. She stood and looked the father of her child in the eye, and fell into a respectful kneel. She let out gasps of air; as she tried to mask the immeasurable pain she was feeling. Voldemort stowed his wand in his robe and, without a word, disapparated.