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The engagement ball at the Malfoy manor had confirmed his suspicions concerning the Lestranges. He had intended the celebration as a recruitment ground for the younger pure-bloods. It had turned out differently.
It was clear that the younger pure-bloods viewed him as a half-blood upstart.
Bellatrix had been vocal about it, her husband supporting her.
“He's half-blood, and rumour is that he descends from the Gaunt family on the maternal side …” she had said.
“Malfoy is the obvious choice. His connections with the Ministry will serve us well. He'll get far without drawing attention,” she had said.
Bellatrix Lestrange: descended from a noble line, married into one equally pure, adamantly in favour of pureblood supremacy and – most unfortunate – an opponent to him.
She arrived on time. She looked magnificent as she strolled into the room.
“Mrs Lestrange, I'm pleased you accepted my invitation.”
He smiled and kissed her hand. She looked taken aback by the gesture yet accepted the homage as her due.
“But where is your husband?”
“He's indisposed. It came on suddenly.” She hesitated. “We were surprised by your invitation.”
“Yes, you must be aware of where we stand.”
“Of course. That's the reason for the invitation. I thought we might find common ground after all. But let's start with some wine.”
The wine was Spanish, with that smooth fullness that French and Italian wines so often lacked – elf-made or otherwise.
He handed her a glass filled with the red liquid.
“Smell it, Mrs Lestrange.”
She swirled the glass, took a deep breath and smiled.
“Lovely.” She got an absent, wistful look on her face. “Vanilla? Liquorice? Something …”
“It's Spanish. The best available. You notice the difference?”
She smiled at him and nodded.
“The smell reminds me of Hogwarts.” She gave him a bemused look.
“Not unpleasant memories I trust?”
“No, no ...”
“A toast then?”
She nodded, raised the glass and drank. When she looked up, her gaze was no longer sharp, but languid, her lips parted and trembling.
“Bella, you will support me and my cause?”
“Yes! Yes, of course, my Lord!”
She touched his face with reverence.
“You will come to my bed?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
An image of a tortured and hung rabbit floated through his mind.
She went into his arms. He smiled and twirled a lock of her hair around a finger. His, to do with as he pleased.
And as a spiral-shaped fume rose from one of the glasses, giving off a faint sheen of mother-of-pearl, he bent his head and kissed her.
Note: As always, I want to thank the lovely and fantastic Diabolica who helped me with this story.
Disclaimer: All characters depicted within belong to JK Rowling. No copyright infringement is intended.
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.