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Playing Pretend by SilverRoses
Chapter 1: Situations
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Bellatrix flipped her long, dark curls over her shoulder and sneered at the boy whom she had just caused to drop a stack of books. "Watch it, Kasica, or I swear I'll hex you!"
Jeremy Kasica looked up at her with those deep blue eyes of his and gave her an apologetic look from behind his thick brown lashes that were the exact colour of his jagged-cut hair and the short stubble along his jaw and upper lip, "Sorry, Miss Black, I'm afraid I didn't see you. It won't happen again."
Fury bubbled deep in the pit of Bellatrix's stomach at his oh-so-calm response. What did it take to annoy this blasted Hufflepuff? Curse him for being so mild and forgiving, she hated him and he wouldn't even do anything about it. Heck, she could have pushed him off a cliff, declaring he had bumped into her and his ghost would come back to apologize. She despised him. She wished he would just die.
Jeremy picked up his books, waved slightly, and walked off. What a useless piece of scum! Thinking he can just wave it all better. She would show him...oh yes, Bellatrix Black would show Jeremy Kasica...even if he was a freaking quidditch player. What was the point of a chaser, anyway? Oh why couldn't they be something useless like referees or something? Then she could taunt him about that.
She sank down in the darkest corner of the Transfiguration classroom and stewed over her anger. Any normal person would at least defend himself. But oh no, Jeremy Kasica would apologize, forgive and forget, and just shake it off...and still be one of the boys some girls thought 'cute'! The nerve! Really, girls' standards were getting dangerously low if they would stoop so low as to fawn over...him.
"Miss Black, did you have something to say?" Professor McGonagall, a woman in her early forties with sandy-brown curly hair, asked. The entire class looked as if, had she been anyone else, they would all have been staring at her, wondering why McGonagall had broken off mid-sentence to call her down. As it was, bad things tended to happen to people who stared at Bellatrix Black.
Professor McGonagall had better be glad she was a teacher, because otherwise, Bellatrix would have promptly stood, walked to the front of the classroom, and slapped her.
"No Professor," Bellatrix drawled, in response to her growl of frustration moments earlier.
The professor frowned shortly and returned to her lecture, while Bellatrix resumed her sulking. If only she had a way of not being caught for using Unforgivable curses, then she'd show that lousy Hufflepuff. Helena Ascarle, her closest friend-not that Bellatrix actually had many friends, anyway-passed her a paper that said 'Jeremy again?' It was no secret that he was the single person Bellatrix hated more than any other living organism...and that was saying a lot, because, being Bellatrix Black, she hated almost everything.
In an attempt to write a reply, which wasn't actually necessary, Bellatrix smashed the end of her quill by pressing down much harder than was necessary. Helena raised her eyebrows, and took that as a yes, returning to her notes. For a Slytherin, Helena's attention span was considerably longer than most pureblood teenagers.
During the remainder of Transfiguration, Helena didn't dare ask anything else, and, as Potions was their next class, they both made their way there, along with everyone else in their year...and the wretched seventh year Hufflepuffs.
This might not have been so horrible was it not for the fact that Slughorn believed in something which Bellatrix considered the height of ludicrous, that he called 'unity among Houses', and therefore, every Slytherin in this class would be paired with a Hufflepuff. Oh joy.
And, just her luck, Bellatrix got stuck with Jeremy Kasica, who...did he really dare to look eager?
Helena gave her a pitying look, which Bellatrix ignored, and went off to join Maverick Hallwell, a whiny boy who liked nothing more than to do as little work as possible and would do anything to have help from anyone.
So maybe Jeremy knew a lot more about potions better than did Bellatrix, but he was still annoying, apologizing every time he accidentally brushed against her, causing spasms of horror in his partner, and really showing her up unintentionally.
Bellatrix, not to be outdone, chopped up a root (she had already forgotten its name) and dumped it all into the boiling mixture within the cauldron.
She knew she had made a mistake even as the last chunk plopped into the liquid.
After that, everything happened in fast-forward.
Jeremy looked up in horror at what his partner had done just moments before there was a sound like a million fireworks all going off at once. Smoke billowed from the pot in swirling, pastel clouds, and surrounded both Jeremy and Bellatrix. They coughed and covered their faces, but, already, the smoke was clearing...and they were no longer in the potions classroom.
Pink tables, pink counters, pink curtains, steamed up windows through which you could barely see that the sun was about to set, frilly lace tablecloths, sappy couples all around...Bellatrix's eyes widened as she realized where they were...that dreaded corner of Hogsmeade known as Madame Puddifoot's. Why she would ever go within a million yards of the place was a mystery...why she would actually be inside it, that was enough to make Merlin himself wonder.
Jeremy was seated across from her, no longer wearing his school robes, but rather, a dark suit and tie. His hair was shorter now, and gelled to a messy perfection. His eyes were like saucers, and his face had drained of all colour.
Looking down, Bellatrix realized she was dressed in a soft, velvety dress the exact colour of Jeremy's eyes. Horror crossed her features as she observed the little pleats that made the square-necked bodice form-fitting. If someone saw her in this, she was dead. Bellatrix Black wore dresses, sure, but she did not wear blue ones, or any colour save black or grey, for that matter. Nor did she wear dresses with those dreaded pleats.
"What have you done?" Bellatrix screamed, "I knew you were stupid, but I never thought anyone could be this stupid! I am going to kill you! Do you hear me, I'm going to kill you!"
Jeremy only had time to jump to his feet before Bellatrix flew across the table and knocked him backwards, landing squarely on his chest and raising her hands to strike him.
"Whoa, whoa, lovebirds. Not in public, please! There are singles here, in case you haven't noticed," a girl with golden curls and bright green eyes said, covering her eyes in exaggeration. She was also dressed formally, in a pale pink glittery dress with a single sleeve. A shawl of sheer white draped across the insides of her elbows, and dangly gold earrings nearly reached her shoulders..
Bellatrix froze. The first thing she registered was 'lovebirds'.
What? Someone actually thought...? Who was that much of an idiot?
Then she realized who this girl was: Helena Ascarle?
But she looked at least two or three years older...
She took a close look at the girl, whose eyes were still covered, and gasped before masking her shock. Climbing off a stunned Jeremy, she stood and smoothed the front of the dress that so disgusted her. Something was wrong, and until she figured out what, she needed to act as if none of this even fazed her.
Jeremy cautiously stood and messed with the buttons of his suit jacket sleeve.
"Helena? What the heck?" Bellatrix sounded confused, despite her attempts not to.
"Geez, Trixie, you're acting weird. Eat something bad? Or just mad that I interrupted you guys?" Helena innocently tapped her perfectly manicured pinkie against her dark pink lips, "You guys were getting a little...what was I supposed to do?"
"Yeah, whatever," Bellatrix waved away Helena's weird comments, "Why are we here again?"
She only added the 'again' because, whatever was going on here, apparently she had been willingly going along with it.
Helena shrugged, "I suggested it, and you and Jere said it was fine. Say, you guys have been married for over six months. I think we should celebrate your half-year anniversary." If she had even considered doubting that this was the Helena Ascarle before this, everything was crystal clear now: only Helena would care about some stupid half-year anniversary. And even if they did, nobody but Helena would suggest a party for such a trivial occasion.
Absolute horror blurred Bellatrix's mind, and she had to use every ounce of energy not to show it. She was married to Jeremy Kasica? She was freaking married to a Hufflepuff half-blood?! What kind of sick joke was this? Surely Helena couldn't be happy. She and Bellatrix were both purebloods. Marrying a half-blood and a Hufflepuff? That was just wrong.
"Hey, you alright, Trixie? You look a bit pale," Helena looked worried.
"Miss Helena, do you think you could apparate her home and I'll take care of our bill here and come along afterwards," Jeremy suggested, pulling out the wallet he'd found in his pocket. He was only trying to hide the fact that he had no clue where he lived now, and he obviously lived with Bellatrix, since they were married.
"Oh no, I've already taken care of it. Come, let's get Trixie home and checked up on," Helena took one of Bellatrix's hands, and Jeremy took the other, deciding to let Helena pull them both through the apparition. Bellatrix would murder him when they got home for daring to touch her.
There was the usual feeling of being sucked down a drain and stretched before the three landed in a large, dark brown room with clean white sofas, a stone fireplace, and dark wood floors. The room had a high ceiling, and a balcony high on the wall overlooked the entire room, as well as the kitchen and dining room, which were separated from the living room by a half-wall with a counter top.
They actually had a pretty nice house, Bellatrix allowed herself to think, trying to calm a bit to bid Helena good night, even though it couldn't be later than six.
"You rest up and I'll see you tomorrow," Helena winked, "You take good care of her, Jeremy."
Jeremy nodded to her and Bellatrix waved before her friend vanishing with a pop.
Bellatrix turned on Jeremy and clenched her hands into fists.
"How. Dare. You. Touch. Me!"
Jeremy's hands went up defensively before Bellatrix attacked him, she beat her thin arms and fists against his chest. With every blow, screaming obscenities and cursing him violently.
He took a step back every few punches, not because it hurt...he barely felt it from year of playing quidditch with the occasional falls from his broom included....but because everything was suddenly wrong. He was married to Bellatrix Black...Bellatrix Black, of all people. No he didn't hate her, and no, nothing she did could make him-he had secretly harbored a crush on her for quite a while, but he was dead if she ever found out-but she loathed him with a passion, and the only thing that made her hatred bearable was knowing she was destined for an arranged marriage, and he would never have a chance if he showed any weakness at all...okay, so maybe it was a little more than a slight crush, but she obviously did not feel at all like that.
She was beautiful when she was angry, he thought, and only wished her anger wasn't all directed at him. Her black eyes burned in passion, and her curly black hair seemed to surge with electricity. If she hated him so much, how had they ended up married?
Then he noticed there were pictures on the walls: there was one of himself and Bellatrix, apparently at their wedding, standing facing each other, with both their sets of hands entwined, looking lovingly at each other; another showed Bellatrix looking frustratedly in his direction as he leaned forward from behind her to kiss her cheek; a third showed him holding her up as she wrapped her legs around his torso, cupped his face in her hands, and kissed him.
Apparently they had stopped hating each other eventually.
Bellatrix seemed to notice his distraction and the fact that her shrieks weren't getting through to him, and looked to follow where his eyes lingered on a fourth picture.
This photograph, though a moving, wizard one like the others, seemed very still. Bellatrix lay on her side in bright green grass with a bundle of wildflowers by her side, and Jeremy was leaning on one elbow behind her, brushing back her hair. One could just make out Hogwarts' lake in the background, so they must have turned sometime during seventh year.
All of the pictures were making Jeremy's heart hum with contentment, but Bellatrix only gawked at them, evidently displeased.
He couldn't resist looking over his shoulder at the final, and largest picture that hung over the fireplace. Bellatrix, wearing a deep green dress with a wide red tie, her hair tied to flow over one shoulder, was clinging to Jeremy with a wide smile. He had on a button-up shirt to match her dress, and looked positively bursting with happiness.
Bellatrix's frown deepened when she saw the way Jeremy looked at this picture. What? Did he actually think she was going to keep up an act when no one was watching? He was sadly mistaken.
"Let's hope this house has a guest bedroom," she said, bitterly, and began to walk towards an arch doorway that left the living room in the opposite direction of the kitchen and dining room.
A spiral staircase evidently led up to the section of the house that overlooked the living room, and once Bellatrix and Jeremy had climbed it, they noticed three bedrooms. The first had a crib, changing table, rocking chair, and children's toys around it, the second had a child-sized bed, a closet, and a side table. Surely Bellatrix and Jeremy had not wanted children in this reality!
The third room had a giant, king-sized bed with massive, fluffy pillows and a thick, blue comforter. This had been their room.
"Eh, maybe the room at the bottom of the staircase was the guest room?" Jeremy suggested reluctantly. He would not have minded sharing a bed with Bellatrix at all, in fact, he would have enjoyed it immensely, but he would have ended up in the living room before she let him sleep with her.
"You go check, then. If it's not, sleep in the living room, this room is mine," Bellatrix declared, imperiously perching herself on the bed.
"Alright. You sleep well," Jeremy nodded, "Goodnight, see you tomorrow."
Bellatrix laughed a short, mocking laugh and scorned, "No way am I playing pretend with you, Jeremy Kasica. There is no one here to notice if we act 'abnormally', so just drop it."
Mumbling something in response, Jeremy left the room, closing the door quietly beind him and walking back to the staircase. He stopped to look into the baby room. Oh, how he wished they had a child. He had always wanted children. Bellatrix would be furious at him, but he didn't care right now.
The room at the base of the staircase was, in fact, a huge guest room. So huge, that it must have been the size of a small house. Well, the couple must have invited guests over quite often to have chosen such a large room as a guest room.
He paused to wonder if, in this reality, his friends were married already...or if they were all even alive. Thinking about this, he felt somewhat uncomfortable being alone in such a massive bedroom. Well, sharing with Bellatrix was not an option, and he'd never even considered doing so with anyone else, so he climbed into bed after divesting himself of jacket, shirt and pants, and fell asleep in his boxer shorts.
His last thought before drifting off was that this situation was pretty neat, if only he could bring his lovely Mrs. Bellatrix Kasica over to his side.
A/N: so, eventful first chapter, I know, but the rest won't be so fast, I promise. Please do review and tell me what you think, I've never written about Bellatrix before. Thanks for reading.
Chapter 2: A Little Problem
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Jeremy awoke to Bellatrix's scream.
He quickly got up and pulled on his shirt and pants before rushing up to see what was wrong.
Another scream, then she barreled into him in the hall and clutched the front of his shirt so hard that her nails tore it slightly, "You! Bastard! Agh!" She shoved him back and sank to the floor, beating at his legs in frustration, "Why? Why are you so horrible?"
The bewilderment he felt was evident on Jeremy's face as his visibly furious wife screamed obscenities at him. What could make her so angry? He hadn't touched her, and he had been an entire floor away from her at her first scream. He pulled himself together and asked, "Bella, what's wrong?"
"Don't call me that! And don't you dare pretend you don't know very well what's wrong!" Bellatrix shrieked, pushing herself to her feet to shove him backwards, "I hate you! I hate your freaking guts! I hate every thing you do...so why am I pregnant with your bloody spawn?"
A chill shot through Jeremy as he struggled to wrap his mind around what Bellatrix had just said. She was...
Bellatrix was pregnant?!
Of all the things he could have said, all he could manage to do was to state the by now quite obvious, "You're...pregnant?"
Her black eyes bubbled fury and her mouth tightened into a thin, hard line, "Don't. Even. Think. About. Being pleased," her voice radiated a danger he hadn't anticipated.
A thousand thoughts raced through his mind then, and, despite Bellatrix's warning, he was feeling suddenly giddy. She, the Bellatrix Black he had practically obsessed over for years, was pregnant with his child. If that wasn't enough, she was also his wife now, and, for all it was worth, they had to fake being in love for everyone else here, who would think it suspicious if they suddenly acted like enemies.
Had life suddenly fallen in love with him?
"Bella...I..." no, he couldn't just tell her that he loved her! She thought he had only tolerated her at school...maybe wanted her simply because she was popular and he thought it would make him popular...he needed to prove he loved her.
"Don't. Call me that!" Bellatrix screeched, pulling at her hair and suddenly losing her balance.
Without even considering the consequences, Jeremy reached out to catch her, and couldn't help but notice how perfectly she fit against him.
Shoving him away fiercely, Bellatrix spat, "Get your filthy hands off me, Kasica!"
He didn't know where it came from; all he knew was it was his voice speaking, "You're a Kasica too, Bella, Love."
It took a few seconds for Jeremy himself to realize what he had said, but once he did, his conclusion wasn't far behind, "She is going to tear you to pieces, Jeremy Kasica."
Eyes widening, Bellatrix's face drained of all colour before her cheeks began to grow red with barely restrained rage. Surely this miserable excuse for a living creature had not just told her that she was one of its kind...surely it wasn't that completely brainless.
Jeremy was pale, and that could only mean he realized what he had said.
Whatever he had braced himself for, it wasn't the stinging slap on the cheek.
Even as her hand fell back to her side and Bellatrix felt satisfaction rise at the red mark becoming visible on Jeremy's face, she herself was confused. He had spoken to her...like that...and all she could do to fight back was a slap on the cheek?
"Never talk to me like that," Bellatrix said, but somewhere deep down, she didn't know what she meant. No one had ever called her 'Love' before. Certainly, plenty of guys had claimed to be in love with her, but they had never used terms of endearment so naturally. And, of course, she had never listened to them.
Woah, woah, woah, something was wrong here. Jeremy Kasica never talked to her like that in the first place!
Somehow this didn't seem to matter right now...and Bellatrix felt like she was dying of starvation, so she shoved past Jeremy and rushed downstairs to the kitchen, leaving him completely befuddled.
Once she was gone, he let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding and gazed longingly after her, though she was already out of sight. Her pregnancy was not yet showing, so how had she known?
He didn't know where he was, he didn't know when this was happening, but he was determined to make it work.
Following Bellatrix's lead, he headed down to the kitchen, only to find her sitting at the table with a bag of potato chips, and a cup of yogurt...very strange combination...did all women eat weird things like that during pregnancy?
"What are you staring at?" Bellatrix snapped, throwing a chip she had grabbed to the table and glaring at him.
Making up his mind to take a slight risk, Jeremy asked, a bit nervously, "So...how far along are you?"
She clenched her teeth. To shoot him down or get him off her? He hadn't acted happy or anything equally annoying, minus the obvious, "Four months," she said, waving him away as she spoke and turning back to her breakfast.
A look of the deepest confusion came over Jeremy's face. Four months? Wouldn't it show by now, then? She wasn't exactly dieting...
"Just because you're such a moron as not to understand, it doesn't mean you have to stare a me like I'm some sort of alien!" Bellatrix rose quickly and swept out of the room, loose black dress and hair billowing behind her.
She was already dressed for the day?
Jeremy looked down at his rumpled pants and button up shirt that had been clawed by Bellatrix.
"So, I guess I'll just shower and then we can figure this thing out?" He called after Bellatrix's retreating form.
"Whatever," her curt response was not the cold tirade he had expected, but even he couldn't turn it in his mind to a nice remark.
As he showered, he thought over what had happened in the short time they'd been here.
Mainly, she was just making him love her even more by being so within reach...yet so impossibly unreachable. She was pregnant with his baby, she was his wife...that was all he had ever wanted, and now that he had it, at long last, he couldn't enjoy it as such, because Bellatrix would kill him if she knew what he was thinking.
He turned off the overhead shower and let the water run off his body for a few minutes before wrapping a towel around his waist and running a hand along his jawline. He didn't need to shave, so he turned to combing his hair hastily before getting into his dark jeans and t-shirt.
When he came out, Bellatrix was laying on the bed, looking annoyed, "About time," she muttered.
Jeremy felt a drop of water roll down the side of his face from his still-wet hair as he was trying to decide whether taking a seat beside Bellatrix would get him killed. She had shifted into a sitting position, so he opted to risk it and sit beside her.
Surprisingly, she only frowned her disapproval before speaking, "Alright, tell me how we're going to get back to our time."
Jeremy blinked, "Eh...Bella, I have no idea yet..."
Bellatrix tensed and she said, in a menacing voice, "Do not call me that."
He let her remark slip past with as little notice as possible, then inquired, "If we can't get back," a warning glance from Bellatrix, so he added, "On the very slight chance that we can't...do you think we could ever...possibly...make this time work?"
"Kasica, let me make something very clear," Bellatrix pointed a finger at him so that it was inches from his face, "I loathe you, and if you cannot get us out of this, you're even more useless than I ever thought, and I will never make myself bear your presence as a husband. You're not worth that much to anyone."
Jeremy swallowed the sting. Her words hurt more than she could ever imagine, "I'll try to find a way."
He was supposed to be finding any clues as to how long ago had been the yesterday they'd actually experienced, but...wedding pictures were not the sort of thing he could just flip through...especially because in nearly every one of them, Bellatrix was holding his hand or arm, kissing him, or he was kissing her. If only that could be now...
Thinking him the embodiment of clumsy and useless, Bellatrix had thrown a pile of scrapbooks, et cetera, at him and demanded he look for dates or some other way to tell time, whilst she looked around the house for who knows what.
They didn't look any older than they did in whatever this year was, so Jeremy guessed it had been less that five years ago. Perhaps seven or eight max.
Bellatrix looked so happy in every single picture, her black eyes practically sparkling with blissful joy. She had worn a long, white, silk and lace dress with sleeves that fell off her shoulders to surround her upper arms (judging by the pictures, Jeremy guessed they'd had a spring wedding). Her long black hair had been pinned on top of her head, yet some loose curls hung about her face.
Jeremy himself looked as if he would explode with unbounded, almost surreal exuberance. He had worn a white suit with a blue tie, obviously influenced by the blue shawl draped around Bellatrix's shoulders in the pictures taken later in the evening.
His eyes lingered on a photograph in which he and Bellatrix held hands and danced, her head on his shoulder, before he forced himself to turn the page.
And there it was.
The wedding of
Bellatrix Cassiopeia Black
Jeremy Michael Kasica
"What God has joined together, let no man separate"
There it was.
This was a paper he had longed to see for years...now, here it was, right in front of him, pressed into a scrapbook along with so many moving wizard photographs that he would have given anything to experience.
What would it be like to kiss Bellatrix?
"Woah, Jeremy, if Bella knew you were thinking that..."
But she didn't, and nothing he could tell himself would remove Bellatrix-centered thoughts such as that from his mind.
"Bella! I found it!" He called, handling it with the utmost care as he slipped it from its protective sleeve.
"Stop calling me that!" Bellatrix sounded weary of repeating herself and him not listening. She entered the living room where he sat, and his breath caught.
She had changed from her dress into fitted jeans and a grey t-shirt that was somewhat stretched, so that he could now see that she did, indeed, have a-very small-baby bump.
He knew he was probably staring, openmouthed, but something about this woman carrying his unborn child made him feel suddenly overwhelmed...with what, he couldn't quite tell.
Perhaps it was simply total adoration, or perhaps the searing pain of unrequited love. But it confused him beyond measure because it felt so new, and, while pleasant and comforting, he couldn't tell if maybe, beneath everything else, it hurt more than words could explain...or perhaps that was just the ache of not telling her the true depth of his love for her.
"Would you stop staring at me? What is it you've found?" She had crossed her arms across her chest and now stood in a 'don't-waste-my-time' manner, frowning at him as he sat, surrounded by scrapbooks, on their living room couch.
He handed her the bulletin from their wedding, and when her hand brushed his in taking it, he felt a surge of electricity, to which she seemed totally oblivious.
Her eyes took in each page as she flipped through it before throwing it down, "Rubbish, so many stupid vows...no loopholes whatsoever. Curse you, Jeremy Kasica!"
"Bella...I think we are, truly stuck here. Um...can we make it work?" He sounded unintentionally timid, and he could tell by Bellatrix's expression that she thought him a hopeless case.
"I hate you," she said, "and if you're willing to give up so easily, just die or something, please."
Jeremy flinched at her harshness, and sank down in the cushions of the couch.
"I'm hungry, and finding that I lost three years of my life doesn't make anything better," she continued, heading towards the kitchen.
Their wedding vows had been done in the Unbreakable Vow, with no loopholes. Bellatrix was truly his, and she despised it.
"I need her...I need her so badly..."
Because deep down, Jeremy knew she was, quite literally, his other half. She completed him, made him whole...
...And he loved her for it.
He caught himself before he said something uncontrollable to her just as she was leaving the living room. Why was he so concerned about it? She needed to know he loved her, right?
The truth was, he wanted nothing more than to have her say those words in return.
She had turned back, exasperatedly when he had called after her, and was now waiting with an impatient look.
"Just freaking say it!"
"Eh...I think I'll have lunch too," he finished, lamely, earning an eye-roll from Bellatrix before she marched to the kitchen without giving him another glance.
"Way to go, maybe you really are the loser she thinks you are."
Perhaps Bellatrix would be much harder to win after marriage than before.
A/N: Before one might object to her pregnancy not being visible after four months, I know two women whose pregnancies looked nonexistent until halfway through fourth month, then they grew very quickly...Bellatrix seemed like that sort of person to me.
All reviews are appreciated and you may flame if there is a need to, I won't be mad.
Chapter 3: Masking Feelings
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Bellatrix was pacing in an annoyed way, her fists clenched and her brow furrowed. Jeremy knew that it would be pointless to try to convince her to stay just now, but he actually wanted nothing more himself than to go to sleep and think about it the next morning. If he didn't get out of her presence soon, he would most certainly end up saying or doing something incredibly stupid and there would be no taking it back. If she knew what crazy ideas were going through his mind, even as he gazed at her pacing figure, she would have killed him on the spot, for sure. At the moment, all he really wanted to do was kiss her until she forgot everything but him, and then maybe do something even crazier...but he would never let himself act on those reckless impulses...at least, not yet.
"You have seriously got to stop thinking like that, Jeremy Kasica."
But the fact was, before this, when they'd been in school together, she had been the epitome of perfect, gorgeous, and completely breathtaking. Now...well, there were no words to describe how much his adoration for her had grown.
Bellatrix stopped pacing suddenly and turned to him, standing barely four feet in front of Jeremy, who sat on the couch. Her black eyes met his blue ones and he knew, with the very small part of his mind that was still rational, that he was staring at her, but he couldn't help it.
"How can you possibly be so calm about this?!" Bellatrix suddenly exploded, "We have just lost three years of our lives and you just...sit there?"
He swallowed and said, "Maybe we should just try to make this work."
"Oh no you did not just say that!" she fumed, glaring at him, "I knew you were a weakling, but I never guessed you were this..."
Before she could come up with a word to describe him, Jeremy stood and said, "What am I supposed to do? Why won't you try?"
Bellatrix gaped at him for a moment, quite shocked by his sudden outburst, "Try? Try what? Being your wife? I think I'd rather throw myself off a cliff than consider the idea! And this?" she briefly touched her stomach, "If this is something I could live with...the idea is too awful to consider! Why, oh why did it have to be you who I got stuck with? What are you supposed to do? Fix it!" She poked her finger at his chest with each syllable and Jeremy just watched her with an expression of confusion.
When he regained control of himself, he replied in a low tone, "Is it just me you don't like?"
Bellatrix's fury fired up again and she shrieked, "Of course it is, you absolute moron! Do you think I would rather be stuck here, married to you, of all the losers in the world, and pregnant with you child than in school hanging out with all the kids who actually matter to the existence of the world, living a life I was actually proud of?"
Jeremy bit his lower lip.
"But I love you."
"Do not call me that!" Bellatrix protested, "I'm sick of your 'let's try to make this work'! I'm sick of everything about you! And I'm sure, despite the fact you can barely think anything on your own, your sick of me, too! Why won't you just die already?"
"I am not sick of you, and I never will be!" Jeremy protested.
"So much for keeping your feelings secret..."
"What?" Bellatrix sounded as if she was 99% sure she had just heard him wrong, but that one percent was confusing her beyond measure.
"Is that what you're accustomed to? People getting sick of you and leaving? Bella, I won't! I swear I won't!" Jeremy said, earnestly.
"Go ahead and dig yourself into a deeper hole than you were already in, would you? She will murder you for that."
Bellatrix's eyes suddenly seemed to catch fire, "That's what you think, do you? That people just leave me? Me? Well they don't! You think you're so much better than anyone else? Well, here's reality for you: you don't even matter! You could drop dead right now and I wouldn't even care! Stop pretending to understand me because you don't know anything about me!"
Tears were unconsciously streaming down Bellatrix's face as her tirade went on, and Jeremy's heart couldn't help but break for her. Obviously he'd been more right than he had ever guessed.
"Nobody leaves me! And they never have! You can just shut up and keep all your stupid, unfounded musings to yourself, I don't want to hear them!" Bellatrix finished by flinging a throw pillow from the couch at him and running upstairs.
"Bella, wait..." Jeremy called, weakly. But she didn't even think of looking back.
She didn't come back downstairs for the rest of the day, and Jeremy just lay miserably on the couch, feeling somewhat guilty. Why could he not control his ideas? If this was supposed to be part of his 'winning Bellatrix's heart' plan, well, he could scrap it, because he was obviously just as stupid as she thought he was.
"Way to go, genius."
Jeremy just wished that voice in his mind would shut up instead of making him feel worse than he already did, but what was he to do? It was obviously the smartest part of him.
"Should I apologize to her? Or would that make it worse?" He wondered in a whisper, "Oh...Lord, I just want her to be happy."
He looked towards the stairs and pondered going up to look for her. But what would he say when he found her?
Something inside him pulled him up off the couch and forced him up the stairs. Leaving her to her tears was just cruel, he decided...but so was making it worse. If only he were better at communicating his thoughts, then there would have been no mistaking them in the first place.
Bellatrix lay on the bed of the master bedroom, sobbing uncontrollably. What was up with her? She hadn't cried since her eleventh birthday. Pregnancy hormones must be about a thousand times worse than they were made out to be. Then she'd gone and said all those stupid things to Jeremy Kasica of all people, so now he would know that he had hit on something, and she would never see the end of it. Why did it have to be her stuck in this alternate reality? Couldn't anyone else have been Kasica's partner in potions?
Some time passed, and Bellatrix was beginning to feel hungry again, but she refused to go downstairs in the mess she was in right now, so she curled up and wrapped her arms around her belly, where, if she concentrated hard enough, she could feel something moving.
There was a knock on the door.
"Go away!" Bellatrix said, as coldly as she could manage through her obviously tearstained voice.
"Bella, I'm sorry," came a very gentle Kasica voice.
"I don't want to hear it! Go away!" Bellatrix said, fighting back the rise of emotions that suddenly returned.
The door handle turned and suddenly he was standing in front of her. "No, I should never have been so careless with my words, and there's no reason for you to think that I meant any of it the way it came out. I'm sorry."
Though he would never have admitted it to anyone, seeing her on their bed made him wonder what they'd been like in this alternate reality say...four months ago. Would that Bellatrix have been used to his somewhat inconsiderate uses of things unintentionally? Would they have had one of those 'kiss and make up' kind of relationships? That would have been so much easier.
"Just leave me alone," Bellatrix moaned, not meeting his eyes.
Jeremy sat on the edge of the bed and dared to brush the thick black curls from her face. Her eyes were red and her complexion was blotchy, signs that his comments had truly hurt her.
"I don't want to," he whispered.
"Don't touch me," Bellatrix protested, weakly, "And just go away. I don't want to talk to anyone right now...least of all you."
"Then I won't talk," Jeremy said, tucking her hair behind her ear, then brushing her cheek gently as he pulled back.
"Then I'm going to go eat," Bellatrix managed to snap.
Jeremy got up and offered his hand to help her up. Surprising both herself and him, she took it and stood in front of him for a moment, then he suddenly pulled her close and she felt his strong arms wrap around her. Right now, that was, quite shockingly, exactly what she needed...even if it had to be Kasica. Someone to hold her while she put her emotions back in order.
When, after a minute or two, she began to pull back, he released her as unrelentingly as possible. He had, after all, gotten to hold her, and that made him feel almost high. Maybe he could win her over after all.
They ate dinner in silence. Bellatrix was so confused by what had happened back in the bedroom that she kept losing herself staring at the table. What had gotten into her to let him talk to her like that, and hold her, and touch her. She had to be losing it if her life was coming to this. Life with Jeremy Kasica was beginning to seem more and more like the end of the world with each passing minute...and it didn't help anything that he kept glancing at her with a look that she couldn't quite place on the emotion chart, but she guessed was probably concern. Maybe he just didn't want her to burst into tears again because then he would be forced to comfort her again. Apparently Hufflepuffs didn't live well when guilt weighed on them, if Kasica was anything to go by.
Jeremy, however, wondered if maybe she had warmed up to him just a bit. He couldn't keep his eyes off her as he sat across from her at the table. How in the world Jeremy Kasica in this reality had managed to make this perfect girl fall in love with him was beyond comprehension. Perhaps he could figure it out for himself eventually, but right now, it was seeming more than a bit difficult. Since they had come downstairs, Bellatrix had kept her distance from him, choosing to drag her chair to the other side of the wide table (which they obviously had for when guests came over) rather than sit next to him. The other chairs were nowhere in sight, so Jeremy guessed they generally sat side-by-side at one end in this alternate reality.
When Bellatrix had finished eating, she waved her wand and the plate cleaned itself and disappeared into a cabinet. Then she got up and left without another word.
Jeremy watched her go with a feeling of longing, but he knew that it would take a whole lot more time before he could get her to stay and talk to him without ending up having her scream at him or state her wish that he die and get it over with.
As he lay in bed that night, he couldn't help but wish she was by his side. What he wouldn't give to know how he had managed to get her to marry him.
He replayed in his mind the feeling of holding her close, the way she had fit against him so perfectly drove him crazy, and he hadn't even meant it in anything but a comforting way. That was just the effect that Bellatrix Black...well Bellatrix Kasica, now...had on him. Someday, he would win her heart, or else he would die in the attempt. There was no way he was going to let her go.
"Careful, Kasica, you know how you are when you get stupid."
"I won't rush it," he sighed, under his breath, "But God knows how much I wish I could."
He turned and tried to fall asleep, but sleep was so hard to find when the only thing on his mind was how Bellatrix fit against him. Nevertheless, he eventually drifted off.
Bellatrix was kept awake for a very different reason. Why had what happened earlier been allowed? Why hadn't she pushed him away the moment he tried to touch her? Why had she been so weak? If any of her friends at Hogwarts had seen her...it would have been even more of a nightmare than it had been. Kasica, that awful Hufflepuff loser had actually embraced her!
But what was worse: she had let him!
She should have seen the future regret as soon as he had pulled her close, but she hadn't. She should have listened to that part of her mind that always knew what was best for her, but she hadn't. She should have slapped him, or thrown something at him, or ran away, but she hadn't. There were so many ways it could have gone that would have been just fine pondering them two hours later as she lay in bed, but she hadn't taken any of them.
She had been weak. She had been stupid. And what if something like that happened again? Bellatrix didn't want to think about it. All she wanted right now was to go to sleep and forget it had ever happened.
But something told her some part of her would always wonder if he had been sincere the entire time...and somehow, that bothered her.
A/N: Long time, no see. Sorry, I have been very busy, but hopefully it will not take so long with the next chapter. Please review :)
Chapter 4: Their Story
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As light filtered through the sheer curtains of the guest bedroom, Jeremy's mind drifted from the world of dreams and slowly settled back to harsh reality as he realized that Bellatrix was still as far away as she had been. All night, the feeling of holding her had stuck with him: in his dreams, in the little feeling of reality he had during dreams, in the few seconds shortly after waking...but now, he was alone on one side of the bed, and she was upstairs, probably not even thinking about him.
He pushed himself out of bed and went upstairs to find clothes for the day. The door to the master bedroom was closed, so he listened briefly before daring to open it. There was no sound at all, so he pushed the door open and stepped in.
Bellatrix wasn't in bed, so he didn't know where she was. He proceeded to the closet and jumped back suddenly when he saw her standing there, side turned to the full-length mirror at the back. Her wet hair was pinned on top of her hair and some fell around her neck. She had the top button of her jeans undone and her shirt raised halfway, seemingly trying to make sure she hadn't grown too much. When she saw him in the mirror, she jumped back and shrieked, pulling her shirt down hastily.
"Go away!" she cried, backing from him.
"Relax, I just need my clothes and I'll be out," Jeremy said, as soothingly as he could manage, as he, just like she, had just noticed he was wearing only shorts.
Bellatrix sealed her mouth and turned her back to him as she tried to button her jeans.
By the time Jeremy had chosen a dark blue t-shirt and faded jeans, Bellatrix was still trying to get her jeans to button. He could see her from the side in the mirror, and could not help but be slightly awed by the way her figure was changing with the pregnancy. And it was his baby.
Bellatrix looked at him in the mirror with a poisonous glare. He couldn't help it, a smirk crossed his face, then he turned at went into the bathroom to take a shower.
Bellatrix knew she ought to be chasing after him to kill him, but somehow, that didn't even seem as important as getting her jeans to button. Why was this so difficult?
"Oh forget it!" she burst out, and swapped the jeans for the nearest thing she could reach: a short, blue silk skirt with a strange ruffle to make one side shorter than the other. The black top matched alright, so Bellatrix, thoroughly ruffled, walked downstairs. She had sat down with her yogurt after quite a bit of contemplation when Jeremy came downstairs, and she didn't fail to notice he had not put on a shirt, just the faded jeans he had chosen.
Idiot, Bellatrix thought, and considered throwing her yogurt at him. Come to think of it...when did he ever get so - Curses! Where are all these bloody hormones coming from? He is not!
Jeremy could feel her watching him.
I should go shirtless more often.
And get killed.
He chose to ignore the last thought as started a pot of coffee. He shot a quick glance over his shoulder.
She's still looking!
Probably thinking how much she wants to murder you.
Bellatrix was trying to come up with something harsh to say to put him back in his place, but the fact that he was actually pretty well built and flaunting it was strangely distracting. She wasn't about to act shy, though; then he would know for sure that he was getting to her. Giving up, she began to eat her yogurt, purposefully avoiding looking at Jeremy.
When he sat down across from her a few minutes later with his coffee, Bellatrix met his look with a glare.
"Do I annoy you?" Jeremy asked, taking a sip of coffee.
Bellatrix's face went red and she stood with fists clenched, looking as if she could tear him apart. She quickly calmed herself and sat back down, still red, but forcing her hands unclenched so she could take another bite of yogurt. She chose to pretend he had not spoken at all.
"So, what are you going to do today?" he asked.
Bellatrix's frown said she wished he would shut up, but she said, "What's it to you?"
"Your friend...Helena...she sent us an owl this morning and asked if we wanted to have a picnic with her," Jeremy explained.
"Oh that's just great," Bellatrix almost spat, "What does she think I am now?"
"She knows you, Bella. Maybe she can help us figure out what's gone on the past three years," Jeremy suggested.
"Do not call me Bella ever again, you hear me?" she demanded, "And whatever, I'll go."
"I'll tell her, then," Jeremy said, smiling.
"But no way am I playing pretend with you. You don't get any stupid ideas," Bellatrix warned, glaring at his obvious pleasure.
"As you wish, my dear," he chuckled, then went back upstairs to write back to Helena.
It took a moment for that to register in Bellatrix's mind, but as soon as it did, she shot out of her chair and ran after him, jerking her skirt up to get upstairs quickly.
"Stop talking to me like that!" Bellatrix shrieked, causing him to turn around. She pointed a finger threateningly at his chest as she ranted, "I will not have you call me names or mock me or whatever it is you're trying to do!"
Jeremy took her hand in one of his and kissed it, then continued the way he had been going.
Bellatrix stood stunned in the middle of the hall. Surely he had not dared to do that.
"You look lovely, by the way," he said over his shoulder.
Oh, why hadn't she kept her wand with her this morning? He would never dare to talk to her like that if she had.
She just glared after him and straightened the uncomfortable blue skirt before holding her head high and marching back downstairs.
I cannot believe you got away with that.
Jeremy couldn't help but smile.
Two hours later, Bellatrix had changed into a dark green sweater and long black skirt and had gone around the house trying to find Jeremy to make sure that he put on a shirt before they left. She eventually found him in their closet, now wearing a sweater almost the same color as hers and pouring over a book as he leaned against the wall.
Bellatrix put her hands on her hips and frowned until he looked up. Then she said, "We are leaving in five minutes. What are you reading?"
"Oh," Jeremy actually went red and closed the book, "Just...something I found."
Bellatrix held out her hand for it. Something told her he wouldn't refuse.
He didn't, but he did seem hurried to busy himself putting on socks and shoes.
"My dearest Bella,
How can I even describe to you how much you mean to me?-"
"You have got to be kidding me. I can't believe you were reading this rubbish!" Bellatrix flung the book across the room and glared down at Jeremy as he tied his shoes.
"Let's go," Jeremy said, standing up. He seemed to be looking at her strangely now, and much as she hated to admit it to herself, it made Bellatrix feel...different.
She followed him downstairs to the front door, then he offered her his hand, which she promptly refused as she continued to follow him, because apparently he knew where they were going.
They came to a small but somewhat busy town, and Jeremy slowed down a bit to take Bellatrix's hand.
"Don't-!" Bellatrix's tone rose with her anger, but Jeremy cut her off, "I don't want to lose track of you...and people are watching."
Biting her tongue, Bellatrix went along with it, although she was ready to kill this annoying jerk for having the audacity to smile at their predicament.
The park was about ten minutes from their house, which was why they'd walked it, and as soon as they got there, Bellatrix was nearly strangled by Helena's embrace, "Oh my gosh, you guys look so cute together!"
She then proceeded to throw her arms around Jeremy, and he embraced her back, to Bellatrix's utter shock, "I'm so glad you could come!"
Helena took them to a picnic blanket already set up with food and drinks.
"So how are you both?" she began as she placed sandwiches and various fruits on three plates.
"Good, I guess," Bellatrix murmured, pulling her hand out of Jeremy's. He looked oddly hurt by this gesture.
"I mean...you don't seem as close as usual," Helena probed.
"Oh?" Bellatrix acted nonchalant.
"You aren't fighting or anything...right?" Helena sounded almost scared to hear the answer, "You can't fight, you're like the ideal couple."
Jeremy moved closer to Bellatrix and kissed her cheek quickly, then said, "Fighting? Of course we aren't, just didn't sleep well last night. I think we're both a bit tired."
Bellatrix bit her lip and tried to look normal, even though she felt like strangling the Hufflepuff right now.
Helena giggled, "Okay, well then I don't mean to pry."
"No problem," Jeremy said, wrapping his arm around Bellatrix's shoulders.
"So, what's been going on with you?" Helena continued, cheerily.
Bellatrix muttered just loud enough for Jeremy to hear, "I can play that game, too," then said aloud, "Oh, nothing much. I do have news for you, though." How she managed to suddenly sound so excited, Jeremy could not figure.
"Ooh, what?" Helena's eyes shone.
"I'm pregnant," Bellatrix replied simply.
Helena squeaked and covered her mouth, though her eyes were practically jumping with excitement.
Bellatrix actually smiled...a real smile. And Jeremy was glad he was sitting down, because it would have turned his legs to jelly.
"How long have you known?" Helena asked, once she had calmed herself.
"A day," Bellatrix replied, "So you timed this just right."
"You guys are going to be such great parents! You're just so perfect for each other!" Helena clapped her hands together as she spoke, looking so sincere Bellatrix needed to know how in the world she could have ended up with Jeremy Kasica of all people, and have Helena Ascarle practically swooning over them.
"In honor of this occasion, why don't you tell us our love story from your perspective," Bellatrix said, "I don't think you ever have."
Helena seemed to ponder this for a moment, then responded, "No, I don't think I have...I guess I never knew you wanted to know."
"By all means, do so," Jeremy said, motioning her to speak.
Bellatrix laid her head on Jeremy's shoulder and he couldn't resist running his hands through her thick black curls. This was like something from one of his best daydreams...or from one of the pictures around their house. If he could have frozen this moment forever, he thought no man would ever have been more happy.
Helena took a sip of tea and passed them plates and drinks before beginning, "Well, after that potions class in seventh year, you guys started getting...not quite friendly...more like teasing. Instead of mocking and tormenting, you would just kind of tease and poke at each other. Two months later, you barely fought or disagreed at all, just joked and laughed and...well, seemed to enjoy each other. I was so confused I didn't know what to do when he would just come up to you and start conversation in the middle of the hall.
"Imagine my shock when you came into the seventh year girls' dormitory over Christmas break when we were the only ones left, just glowing and smiling like...I don't know, like someone who had just realized they were in love. I mean, you hadn't been the Bellatrix Black I'd known for at least a week. As far as I knew, you were a completely different person. You asked me if I would think you were weird for actually falling in love after you had told me a million times that you hated boys. I said no, and you said 'That's good,' fell back on your bed, and went to sleep smiling.
"A week later, you told me, 'I'm in love with Jeremy Kasica.' I was speechless but you didn't even seem to notice. A month passed, and I was beginning to like seeing the two of you together...then, one night, I went up to the astronomy tower. It was the last week of winter, but it wasn't cold. I saw you both standing by the rail, kissing so softly, it had to have been your first. I don't know, I guess I just wasn't ready for it to go that quickly, so I left and never told you I had seen it. The next day at breakfast, you showed me your promise ring."
"What?!" Bellatrix shot into sitting position.
"I know, I should have told you earlier...I'm sorry," Helena murmured.
"No, I mean...promise ring-?" Bellatrix protested, but Jeremy pulled her back against him and whispered very quietly, "You already know the main details here."
Bellatrix immediately understood and said, "It's fine, okay, what then."
Helena smiled gratefully and continued, "Well, I was happy for you, of course, but what was I to think? Later that day, though, I saw that you didn't have those weird and sometimes awkward mushy, always-making-out romances...you were just standing by the entrance to the Slytherin common room, holding on to each other like nothing else mattered. Then Jeremy kissed your forehead and said goodnight, and you parted ways.
"After that, I couldn't have anything against you being with him. So, fourteen months later, I couldn't be anything but happy for you when he proposed. I barely saw you in the time you were engaged, because you were both always talking about the wedding, and marriage, and the future, and children...you told me I was going to be the maid of honor, and then Jeremy asked if there was anybody I liked that he should make his best man so the guy would have to pay attention to me...at least, for the wedding. And I saw what you loved in him. I said no, he should find somebody he thought I would like, and he said he would do that.
"When the wedding finally arrived, well, you know that part. And since then, I've just watched you grow together...and I've always been glad you stuck together all that awkward time."
Helena took a deep breath and looked at them both, "I'm so glad you're together."
Then she started on her food without another word.
"Wow..." Jeremy said, looking from Helena to Bellatrix, "Thank you, Helena."
"Yes, thanks," Bellatrix echoed, sounding deep in thought.
"You're welcome, now eat," Helena beamed.
They all finished lunch in silence, and then Helena asked, thoughtfully, "Do you think I'll ever find someone I'm compatible with?"
"Of course you will," Bellatrix waved a hand for emphasis, "You're barely out of your teens, I'd say you will soon."
Jeremy nodded his agreement.
"Thanks. Well, this was nice, let's do it again sometime," Helena said, "I'll let you get back home."
Jeremy stood and offered his hand to Bellatrix. She took it and, though it probably shouldn't have been because they were in public, she didn't pull away immediately or blast him.
"Bye," Jeremy and Bellatrix said, simultaneously. Bellatrix flinched, but forced herself to smile.
"Bye," Helena waved, then pulled out her wand and the picnic things put themselves away, and Jeremy and Bellatrix started to leave.
"Oh, and you really do look gorgeous together. Your baby is going to be beautiful," Helena added.
Jeremy laughed aloud and Bellatrix shook her head unnoticeably.
As they walked back home, hand-in-hand, Jeremy said, "Bella..."
"I love you."
"Did you enjoy it?" he finished quickly.
Bellatrix tried to pull her hand away, but he didn't let go, "Promise ring? Why would I ever accept a promise ring from you?"
"What? Apparently you accepted both an engagement ring and a wedding ring, how could a promise ring be so much different?" Jeremy replied, confused.
"How am I with you? It just wouldn't happen. Her story explained absolutely nothing," Bellatrix scoffed as he opened the door with his free hand.
Jeremy turned quickly and took her other hand in his, so that she was facing him with both her hands in his, "Look, Bella...I know we can make this work. Please, give it a chance, and I promise you won't regret it. Just...please let's not fight anymore. I'll do anything you want, but can we try to make this work?"
Bellatrix pulled her hands from his and took a step back, "How stupid do you think I am?"
"Does it really matter what house I was in? Does it really affect anything that I'm a halfblood?" he was trying very hard not to sound too hurt.
"Yes, it does," Bellatrix hurried inside, and all Jeremy could do was gaze after her.
They had been so close. He could smell her perfume, and see that she was wearing lip gloss, and that time at the park had just been amazing, even if they hadn't been alone. But what gave him hope was the fact that she hadn't sounded as bitter as usual when they'd gotten home...just uncomfortable.
He could never get over her...he'd just have to wait and see if he could get her to fall for him.
He lay in bed that night, replaying the day in his head, remembering the feel of her hair through his fingers, her head on his shoulder, her cheek under his lips...it had all felt so surreal.
Then, to his great surprise, he heard a knock on his door.
"Come in," he said, getting out of bed quickly to look for a shirt. She hadn't seemed too comfortable with him shirtless, and he didn't want her to be uncomfortable...even if it did get her to look at him.
The door opened and he still had not found his shirt, so he gave up and turned to face her.
Bellatrix's hair was all down, and she wore a tank top and gym pants. When he looked closely at her, she looked as if she had been crying. Her eyes flicked over him before meeting his own.
"Are you alright?" he asked, walking to her side and looking her in the eye. She averted her eyes, but he placed a finger under her chin and met her gaze.
"I don't know what to say," she whispered, "But I guess I shouldn't have been so quick to kick you out of the room..."
"I'm sorry?" she could not possibly be saying what he thought she was saying...that would just be...
"I don't want to be alone right now, okay. I don't know what else to say," Bellatrix refused to meet his eyes now, and he didn't try to make her.
"You...want me to sleep in our bed?" How could this be happening? He could have jumped if she didn't look so sad.
Bellatrix went red and whispered, "Something like that...but I mean...if you'd rather not...."
"Um, no, it's not that...I mean, sure, I want to..." Jeremy winced at how bad that sounded.
No need to sound so eager.
"I mean...why?" he managed, "I thought you hated me."
"I just don't want to be alone right now. Don't let it go to your head...and I guess I..." Bellatrix paused, then finished, "don't hate you as much as I thought I did."
Jeremy smiled, and for once, Bellatrix didn't criticize him for it.
As they both lay on their sides of the huge bed, Bellatrix murmured, "I know I'm not your favorite person or anything, and you probably wish you were here with somebody else...but...thanks, for staying."
Jeremy's heart softened, "No...you are my favorite person, Bella. And I would rather be here with you than anyone else."
Bellatrix sounded as if she had gasped, but then pretended to be asleep so she could act as if she hadn't heard what he had said. It didn't make sense at all, and she just didn't want to think about it tonight.
Jeremy smiled to himself. Now she knew...well, sort of.
And with that, they fell asleep with less than two feet between them.
Chapter 5: Pulling Closer, Pushing Away
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Bellatrix awoke to the feeling of something warm behind her on the bed. Still half asleep, she didn't think to wonder what it was, just that she was very cold. She turned over and curled up against what seemed to be a young man, though her mind could not quite be sure. She lay there for a moment, then felt someone's hands stroke through her hair. The slightly rough hand, which was obviously a man's, stopped on her neck, and she felt his thumb caress her jawline. She felt so content right now, it didn't seem to worry her that she had somehow ended up in bed with someone.
For a few moments, she let the man stroke her face, getting closer and closer to her lips, but when finally, his thumb brushed against her mouth, she shot up, suddenly remembering.
"Oh my gosh, what ever did I do last night?" Bellatrix covered her face with her hands and tried to force thoughts of what could have happened the previous night from her memory. It slowly came back to her, and she was relieved when she realized nothing had happened between them...but how had she ended up so close to him?
Jeremy sat up beside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "You okay?"
Bellatrix knew she ought to push him away while she could do so easily, that if she let him get close now, he would think it was alright, but she didn't feel like it...in fact, odd as it sounded to tell it to herself, it felt kind of nice to have him against her like he was.
She decided she didn't want to deal with the voices telling her to be careful right now and laid her head against Jeremy's shoulder, "I'm fine."
He was surprised, to say the least. Were girls always so bipolar? As long as she was content with the situation, he was going to enjoy it, though.
She felt his free hand brush the hair back from her forehead before he kissed her brow softly.
It took Bellatrix completely by surprise.
"You don't have to play pretend while we're alone," she whispered.
Jeremy froze, and then cupped her chin in his hand and turned her face to look at him, "Who said I was playing pretend?"
Confusion rushed through Bellatrix's mind at his words. What was she supposed to say to that? There was, of course, no reason she should doubtlessly believe it, but something about the way he met her gaze shamelessly made her think there was more truth to his words than she had ever guessed.
"Bella, I love you," Jeremy murmured.
Bellatrix gasped and jumped away so quickly one might have thought she'd just discovered there was a monster beside her. She was off the bed before he could say anything else.
"No," she shook her head fervently, "No, you don't. Do not lie to me, Jeremy Kasica!" Her voice had risen with every word until she practically shrieked his name.
Her breath was coming fast and Jeremy was mentally berating himself for letting it slip out that suddenly, "Bella...I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say it...like that. I do, but I...didn't mean to say it so suddenly." He slid off the bed and tried to get close to her, but she pushed him back.
"Don't. Just...don't," Bellatrix said, "I thought...maybe you actually respected me...apparently I was wrong. Stay away from me, Kasica!"
"Bella-!" Jeremy protested.
"Shut up! And don't call me that!" Bellatrix snapped, then turned and walked into the bathroom, slamming the door forcefully behind her.
Jeremy sank down on the bed and rested his forehead in his palm. What had he gotten himself into? They'd been so close for such a short time...and he had gone and messed that up.
Bellatrix stood under the scalding hot water and let the tears run down her face. Why did he have to effect her like this? He shouldn't be able to get to her at all, and yet, somehow, he seemed to be able to rub against that one part of her that was so raw from her past. It was as if he didn't even know that she would feel it...but she did.
...Five years earlier...
"Bellatrix, you know I love you, why is this such a big deal?" The tall, darkly handsome boy protested, grabbing her hand as she walked away.
"You love me, do you? It certainly didn't look like it!" Bellatrix snapped, jerking her hand from his and half running down the hall to get away from him.
"Look, we were just passing time. No need for you to get so touchy over that!" The boy shouted, his voice growing to a vicious growl, "I thought you were above that whiny girl stuff."
Bellatrix stopped in her tracks, whipped around, and slapped him as hard as she could, then shouted, "Just passing time? You were bloody making out! And I'm touchy?! Well yeah, maybe I am...my boyfriend is only cheating on me! Touchy doesn't even begin to describe it!"
"Calm down, Bellatrix," Jakob Axon demanded, grabbing her arm before she could hit him again.
"No, Jakob...we are done! I never, ever want to talk to you again and you'd better stay away from me!"
"What?!" Jakob's face took on an expression of pure horror, "Bellatrix, you can't - you wouldn't - I love you!"
"Do you think I care?" Bellatrix snapped, "Do you really think I care what you think you feel?"
"But I do! Come on, you've got to give a guy some room and all, but I'll always come back to you!" Jakob practically pleaded.
"Room? So cheating is alright by you? Well I hope your new 'love' finds that out soon," Bellatrix pulled her arm out of his grip and stalked away.
Bellatrix doubled over in the shower and sobbed. Jakob Axon had been her first crush and she had been stupid enough to fall for him and believe all his lies and false declarations of love. Now she was so bruised from all the times she'd caught him cheating that she had dubbed love a dangerous emotion. Curse her foolish, naïve, fifteen-year-old self for believing him when he said he loved her, even after she caught him with numerous other girls.
She let the tears mingle with the water until she could cry no more. Then she took a deep breath, turned off the water, and wrapped a towel around her self, and left the bathroom to get dressed for the day. She hadn't planned, however, on Jeremy still being in their room, sitting on the bed with his head in his hands. He looked up when she came out, but flushed red and looked down again when he saw she was only wearing a towel.
Bellatrix ignored him as best she could, though she could feel her own face go red. She hurried to get to the closet and closed the door when she got in, exhaling heavily. Her wardrobe seemed much more limited than it actually was when she considered the slight bump of her abdomen, and she quickly slipped into a long-sleeve, loose red dress, and frowned when she found that it was still a bit tight across the bust, but ignored the fact. She turned her side to the mirror and smoothed the dress down against her frame, sighing as it revealed that she was definitely growing.
But what did she care? She didn't need to impress her friends anymore, or be cool for the rest of the school. She was stuck here with Jeremy Kasica, of all people, and the less attractive she was to him, she guessed, the better it was for both of them.
She left the closet, expecting Jeremy to have gotten into the shower himself, but he still sat on the bed in the same position she had left him last.
He looked up briefly to make sure she was dressed, and then met her eyes searchingly. He could see she had been crying, though she had erased the traces as best as she could.
"Kasica...don't," Bellatrix said, sounding exhausted, "Just...forget last night, alright. I was stupid."
Jeremy stood up suddenly, "No, you weren't, Bella. I was."
"Please...please leave me alone," Bellatrix whispered, making for the door.
Jeremy caught her by the hand before she could reach the doorknob and he spun her around to face him, "If what I said hurt you...forget it. I'm not saying I didn't mean it, but if it hurt you...then it's not the time. Please, Bella, don't push me away."
Bellatrix bit her lower lip and met his blue gaze. He had the deepest, most sincere eyes she had ever seen, and just looking into them from this close proximity made her want to believe anything he told her...made her feel as if she could trust him with anything, as if she knew that he would never leave her.
But she couldn't trust anyone like that.
She dropped her eyes slightly lower and found herself staring at his mouth. Almost without thinking, she whispered, "I...trust you."
Something like a sigh left Jeremy's lips before he could hold it in. Coming from Bellatrix Black...that left him absolutely breathless. He wanted her to meet his eyes again...wanted to see inside her, but her eyes were seemingly fixed on his mouth. That, in itself, knocked the air from his lungs. That kind of thing was just not the kind of thing he thought Bellatrix would do to him.
"Bella..." he barely breathed her name, and her eyes finally shifted to his.
And she gasped, "Oh, I didn't mean to say that!"
"Do you?" Jeremy asked, so softly he could barely hear himself.
Bellatrix blinked, and then said, hesitantly, "Yes...I...I do."
Jeremy's mouth was open slightly, but no sound came out.
There was a moment of silence, in which neither knew what to say or do, but then, Bellatrix surprised Jeremy even more by leaning up and kissing his cheek so softly, it felt as if he had dreamed it.
She then turned and went downstairs to have breakfast, and Jeremy followed her, though he was still so surprised he couldn't speak.
She got a yogurt out of the fridge and he started a pot of coffee before sitting at the table across from each other as they had the previous day.
She wasn't looking at him, choosing instead to absently stir her yogurt. Jeremy, on the other hand, could not take his eyes off her, trying to figure out what he should say, or if he should remain silent.
"Bella..." he tried, wanting to see her reaction.
Bellatrix raised her eyes slightly, and then looked back down, causing Jeremy to realize he was still shirtless from the night before, "Yes?" she murmured, and, from the other end of the table, he only knew she had spoken because he had seen her lips move.
"I just...don't want to mess up," Jeremy said, lamely, standing up to get his coffee, which had finished.
"Mess up?" Bellatrix's voice was a little more audible now, and he heard what sounded like fear in her soft voice.
"Oh, Bella, I didn't mean it like that," Jeremy protested, turning around quickly and placing his hands on her shoulders, "I...meant that I don't want to end up turning you against me. I don't want us to not be able to make this work."
Bellatrix met his gaze with a steady look of her own. She had to make sure he was not lying, had to know this for sure before she let herself fall any more. She had never intended to fall anyway, but somehow he had a way of breaking down her walls without her even being aware of it, and she just had to know that, if this was the way it was going to be, she was not going to end up hurt as she had with Jakob.
Jeremy touched the back of his hand to her face and followed her jawline slowly, "Can we make it work?"
She grabbed his hand in both of hers and just looked at him for a moment, then broke eye contact and turned away from him, "I don't want to talk like that right now."
He wanted to convince her right now, wanted to make her see that he would never leave her, but he couldn't press now or he might make her feel rushed and lose her completely, "Okay," he said, slipping his hand slowly from hers to push her black curls behind her ear. Then he got back to fixing his coffee, knowing she was watching him.
After breakfast, he stood and said he was going to take a shower. Bellatrix just nodded absently and stayed where she was.
He took about twenty minutes to shower and get dressed in dark jeans and a long sleeve grey shirt, and when he came back down to the kitchen, Bellatrix still sat at the table as she had been when he'd left.
She looked up when he came in and smiled slightly.
Her smile knocked Jeremy absolutely breathless and he knew he probably had the most idiotic grin on his face, but he couldn't really help it.
"So, what should we do today?" he asked, after a few seconds.
Bellatrix looked confused, "What?"
"What should we do? I don't think we have any plans, so I guess it's just whatever you want," he guessed Bellatrix Black had not really had many days where she had nothing at all to do.
"Um...I have no idea," she said.
"Well, I could see if Helena wants to have a picnic or something with us...or we could go somewhere together, you and I," he watched her expression with his suggestion.
She closed her eyes and smiled in exasperation, "Kasica, you do have odd ideas."
Jeremy pulled up a seat beside hers and said, "Odd, sure. But do you like them?"
"I was under the impression that you didn't care for Helena," Bellatrix prodded, looking probingly at him.
Jeremy shrugged, "Nah, I never really had an opinion on her...but if you're cool with her, so am I."
Bellatrix actually laughed at that, "You're actually kind of...well..."
"Stupid?" Jeremy suggested, smirking, "A loser? Awful?"
Bellatrix elbowed him, "Ugh, all of those."
She suddenly heard the voice in her mind saying 'What are you doing laughing and teasing with him? You know you're falling now, and it's happening so fast you don't even seem to care!'
Jeremy was grinning at her last comment, and somehow, that made the voice in her mind shut up for just a moment too long. He seemed so genuine, and his smile was...for the first time, Bellatrix really saw why all the girls at Hogwarts were so attracted to Jeremy Kasica. It wasn't because he was gorgeous, as they said; it wasn't even because he was popular. He was just such a different person from the other guys. He listened, and he knew how to get her mind off things when she actually let him...well, even when she didn't. She was shocked to actually admit it to herself, but, had she been anything but a Slytherin pureblood, he would have been exactly the type of boy she would have chased.
Bellatrix got a strange feeling in her chest that felt so right in that moment, it made her a bit reckless. She leaned in suddenly, and before either of them knew what was happening, her lips were pressed against Jeremy's.
Jeremy froze. How had it gotten to this point so quickly? Not that he was complaining...but how could her lips possibly be so amazing? He pulled himself together quickly and ran his hands through her hair to pull her closer with his hand on the back of her neck.
His response broke the last of Bellatrix's uncertainty. She ran her hands through his hair and closed her eyes tightly. Jakob had never kissed her like this. She felt the hand on the back of her neck twisting in her hair, and the other was just barely touching her chin. She felt him sigh against her lips, and for some time, she allowed herself to just live in the moment.
Then the voice had to come back, 'What are you doing making out with a boy you were so sure you hated until this week?!'
Bellatrix pulled away suddenly and Jeremy sighed as he released his hold on her. That had been the best two minutes of his life. He was quite aware that his expression was blissfully idiotic, but Bellatrix's was about the same...
Only, not idiotic in the least...she looks so happy. You did that.
She did look happy, but then confusion crossed her face, "Oh...forget that, I shouldn't have done it. Let's go somewhere...town or something."
Jeremy chuckled, "Forget it? I don't think that's possible. But yeah, let's go."
Bellatrix gave him a look, but he quickly stood and offered his hand to her. She guessed she would just have to wait to see what came of it. She took the offered hand and he said, "So, I guess we'll just walk around until we find somewhere that interests us?"
Chapter 6: No Choice
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"French onion soup!" Bellatrix exclaimed, as she and Jeremy walked hand-in-hand through the main part of the city near where they lived.
He looked where she was pointing to a small restaurant with a blackboard displaying the special of the day as "French Onion Soup."
"Hungry again already?" he chuckled.
Bellatrix jabbed him with her elbow and said, "Just because you've obviously never had to eat for two, I'll let you get away with that."
Jeremy raised his eyebrows, but didn't press the subject, "Luckily, I did manage to find my wallet before we left."
Bellatrix smiled slightly and pulled him towards the door.
Minutes later, they were sitting across from each other at a cafe table with the warmth of the soup creating a haze between them. Bellatrix had her eyes closed as she inhaled the delicious smell, "It smells heavenly..." she crooned.
Jeremy certainly agreed with her, but he found it funny that she was so affected by soup. Either way, she seemed to be in a good mood, so he had nothing to complain about...In fact, he had everything to be pleased with: here he was with the girl of his dreams, they were married and expecting a baby, and right now, it was almost as if they were dating...no, he didn't think it got much better than this.
He must have looked as distant and satisfied as he felt, for Bellatrix suddenly focused on him and asked, "What? You're looking like someone who just forgot where he was. Why?"
He met her eyes and immediately lost himself in them, "You're just...amazing."
Bellatrix's brow furrowed, as if she was trying to figure out if he was being serious, or if he was trying to tell her she was exaggerating the food a bit without getting under her skin. It took only a moment for her to confirm he was serious, and she smiled slightly, "I guess you're not so bad yourself."
Jeremy felt the corner of his mouth twitch. He did love her so much.
They ate quietly, but Bellatrix knew Jeremy watched her more than his food, even though she rarely raised her eyes from her own soup. She wondered what he found so fascinating about her...it was as if he was more interested in her than anything else, and she couldn't figure it out. He hadn't seemed this way in school, so why should he suddenly be so taken with her? Could he really be in love with her? ...Did she really want him to be?
That question took her by surprise. Did she want him to be in love with her? And what if he was? Would it change anything if he was?
Then another question came uninvited to her mind: was she falling for him?
"Kasica..." Bellatrix said, looking up only to find his eyes already focused on her.
"Yes, Dear?" he murmured.
"Do you think we'll ever get back?" she tested.
Suddenly, a look of sadness crossed his face, "Do you want us to?"
Bellatrix bit her lower lip, "I don't know...do you?"
Jeremy's eyes searched hers, "Honestly? No, I don't."
Bellatrix's eyes widened, "But...that's three years of your life that you missed...and here you are, stuck with me - no loopholes at all - for the rest of our lives. You can't choose who you married...what's so great about that?"
Jeremy reached across the table and took her hand, "What's so great about that? Bella...what's not great about that?"
Bellatrix looked completely taken aback.
"Look...this is like...this is what I've wanted since I first saw you. And I...don't know if I could ever get you to marry me in the past. Bella, this is all I ever dreamed about," he whispered, "I don't want you to be unhappy, though."
Bellatrix thought of pulling her hand away and leaving him sitting there.
But she didn't.
"I'm sorry, maybe I'm just not good at communicating my thoughts. I didn't mean that I was happy you're stuck with me...I'm just trying to say you're the only person I would ever want to marry. I'm sorry you don't get a chance to choose," Jeremy said.
"That was awful," Bellatrix said, barely thinking about her words, "It was better how you said it first."
Jeremy gaped at her.
"It was...sweet," Bellatrix couldn't believe she had actually just said that.
"Oh...thanks," Jeremy said, sounding stunned.
"Well, let's go," Bellatrix said.
"Yeah..." Jeremy replied, his voice still sounding dazed.
They left the cafe hand-in-hand and Bellatrix shivered at the sharp change from the warm air inside to the chill autumn afternoon outdoors. Jeremy smiled and pulled her against him, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. She looked up at him with a smirk, then put her arm around his waist to stay close. Never in a million years would she have thought she would be acting this way with a Hufflepuff halfblood, of all people...and one that she had hated for so long, but she really felt as if she had no control over herself. Maybe she really was falling for him.
Twenty minutes later found the two in the middle of town, walking down the sidewalk towards the circular area where a band was playing.
"Feel like dancing?" Jeremy whispered.
Bellatrix looked up to make sure he was serious, then smiled slightly, "I didn't know you liked that kind of thing."
"With you? Yeah, I love it," Jeremy chuckled.
"You've never danced with me before," Bellatrix reminded.
"True. So do you want to try something new with me?" He took one of her hands and began to sway with her against him.
Bellatrix leaned into him and put her head on his shoulder, wrapping her free arm around him. There were other couples dancing near them, but Bellatrix could fade them out easily, to her surprise. It felt nice to have someone act like he really cared for her as Jeremy did...oh, how she hoped this was forever. Yes, she had finally admitted it to herself: she had fallen hard for Jeremy Kasica...but she would not be telling him any time soon.
Jeremy was thinking over the day, wondering how he had been so fortunate as to end up in this reality with, of all people, the girl he most wanted. This had been the most perfect day of his life. He had actually kissed her, he had gone almost the entire time without having her get mad, he was dancing with her now...it didn't get any better.
As the song drew to its end, Bellatrix looked up at her partner and found him gazing down at her. She felt the sudden urge to kiss him, and their close proximity was doing anything but helping her ability to resist these strange impulses...but she didn't. She smiled lightly, and then rested her cheek against his chest once again. She had to keep control of herself as much as possible.
As the last notes died, Jeremy brought their joined hands to his lips and kissed hers softly, then she stepped back from him slightly. It was quiet for a moment as Bellatrix's eyes searched Jeremy's, and then a new song began, and he pulled her back, whispering, "I wish this day would never end."
Bellatrix sighed audibly.
Jeremy smiled to himself as he held her close.
The music went on for a few hours, but Bellatrix and Jeremy barely noticed how much time passed. They didn't talk much, just enjoyed each other's company.
After the band had finished their performance and had begun to pack up their instruments and leave, Jeremy embraced Bellatrix lightly before letting her take a step back. Their hands were still twined together as they stared into each other's eyes. Neither of them felt like breaking the silence: it was just such a perfect moment.
After a few seconds, Bellatrix happened to glance up and see the clock above the town circle. Nearly four hours had passed, "I'm starving," she said.
Jeremy laughed, "Then by all means, let's get you some food."
She smiled as he released one of her hands so they could walk side-by-side as they looked for some place that appealed to them.
Suddenly, Jeremy felt himself grabbed by the arm and pulled in to a rough, back-breaking embrace that drove the air from his lungs. Only one person he knew hugged him like that...but it couldn't be...
"Oh - gosh - Justin -" he gasped.
The man immediately released him and said, in a strong Irish accent, "Sorry, mate, I just didn't expect to see you here."
Jeremy massaged his side, wincing, as he said, "Didn't expect to see you either...augh! Why do you have to break all of my bones every time?"
Bellatrix was just watching them in confusion. She thought she recognized this new person...probably if he was one of Jeremy's best friends. The shaggy blond hair and dark green eyes did look somewhat familiar.
"And you've brought the Mrs. with you, as well, I see," Justin said, turning to Bellatrix to kiss her cheek.
"Ugh!" Bellatrix shuddered and jumped back, looking horrified.
Justin looked confused, and then realized Jeremy had gone quite red and looked as if he was about to murder Justin. He held up his hands in apology, "I didn't mean anything by it, you know how I am. Sheesh, chill."
Under her horror, Bellatrix couldn't help but burst into laughter seeing Jeremy glaring up at Justin, who was at least a head taller.
'He's so freaking cute!'
"Never, ever do it again, or I swear I will have to kill you," Jeremy practically growled. That was a side Bellatrix had never seen of him...
"So protective, as always. Guess I should've learned my lesson earlier," Justin just chuckled at Jeremy's anger.
"See that you learn it now," Jeremy muttered.
Bellatrix stepped closer to him and took his hand. He turned to her, and saw something like adoration in her eyes. Jeremy could almost forget that there was anyone else around...if that anyone else hadn't meant Justin Kelly.
Just those few moments soothed his nerves enough so that he could speak to Justin in a friendly tone, "What are you doing here anyway?"
Looking surprised by the sudden change in attitude, Justin replied, "Thought I'd visit some friends around here. Haven't seen you since school."
Jeremy raised his eyebrows, "Wait a second...how did you know I was married?"
Justin threw his head back and laughed.
"What's so funny?" Jeremy frowned.
Shaking his head, Justin replied, "Your question - it was just ridiculous! How did I know you were married? Good grief, Brother, you were only completely obsessed with her for forever...and you only spent the entirety of seventh year with her! Hey, I can tell a couple when I see one!"
Jeremy looked skeptical, and he thought Bellatrix seemed to share his thoughts.
"Hey, how about you come over to my hotel sometime. I'll be here for awhile...maybe tomorrow?" Justin suggested, "Catch up on the past few years."
Jeremy exchanged a look with Bellatrix, and clearly saw that she was horrified by the suggestion, "Justin-"
"It's right over there," Justin said, pointing down the street to a small hotel, "Just drop in if you get the chance, alright? I'm meeting somebody in five minutes, so I need to go. See you."
"Bye," Jeremy said, "Bellatrix, are you alright?"
She gave him a blank look, and said, "Of course."
They continued on their way until they found a restaurant that was acceptable to Bellatrix's particular taste. They ended up seated at a moderately fancy table for two in a candlelit room surrounded by couples whispering and staring at each other. Bellatrix didn't seem to mind that, so Jeremy guessed she didn't care how much like the others they looked.
They ordered their food when the waitress came around, and were soon asked by another waitress if they wanted red or white wine.
Jeremy glanced at Bellatrix and she just bit her lip to keep from smiling, so he said, "Red."
As soon as the waitress left, Bellatrix giggled slightly, taking Jeremy completely by surprise. He'd never heard her giggle like that...but it totally stole his heart all over again. He didn't even realize he was staring at her until she opened her eyes slightly to see him through her lashes.
She was still smiling slightly, but his expression seemed absolutely awestruck.
"You alright, Kasica?" Bellatrix asked.
He blinked, and then said, "Are we still on a last name basis?"
She suddenly reached across the table and took his hands in hers and looked into his eyes, now serious, "Please tell me I'm not making a stupid mistake..."
He raised one of her hands to his lips and kissed it, letting his lips linger on it as he whispered, "I swear I will do everything in my power to make sure you aren't."
A/N: I know, odd place to end, and this chapter seems kinda everywhere to me, so please tell me what you think :)
Chapter 7: Too Much
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Four hours and about seven glasses of wine later, Jeremy was practically carrying an exhausted Bellatrix back to their house. He was fairly tired himself, but right now, the predominant emotion in him was just contentment. She had basically told him that she was in love with him, so what more did he need? No, he definitely didn't want things to go back to the way they had been at school.
When he reached the door of their house, he set Bellatrix down, still holding her steady while she woke up enough to stand on her own.
"Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to fall asleep on you!" Bellatrix protested, sleepily.
"Shh, it's alright, Love," Jeremy murmured, kissing her softly on the forehead.
He unlocked the door and kept his arm around her as they went inside.
"Oh please don't make me walk up the stairs tonight," Bellatrix moaned, looking hopelessly at the staircase he was leading her towards.
"Then you can sleep in the guest bedroom if you want to," Jeremy suggested.
"Stay with me," Bellatrix said, "And that's fine."
Jeremy's heart gave an unexpected leap and he couldn't help but smile slightly as they proceeded to the guest bedroom. He pulled back the covers for her, and when he turned around, she had undone her dress and laid it over the end of the bed, leaving her in just her full-length, mostly sheer silk slip.
He bit his lip at the sight of her, and forced himself to meet her eyes.
Bellatrix looked curiously at him, and then threw her arms around his waist, "You're just...perfect."
He was in shock, but managed to reply, "No, you are perfect."
She pulled back slightly and looked up at him, then placed her hands on the back of his neck and brought his face down to hers. She could hear his breathing stop, and her own caught in her throat. Right now, she felt as if she had no control over herself...and surprisingly, that was the way she wanted it right now.
Without warning, her hands shifted from his neck to his cheeks and she closed the small gap between their lips, feeling him go almost limp against her. She felt butterflies in her stomach immediately, and was a moment from pulling away and apologizing when she felt his arm around her waist and one hand on her chin.
Bellatrix lost herself in the moment as his hand on her chin grazed down her neck, and then back up before running through her hair. For a few minutes, they went on, and then Bellatrix let her hands slip from his face and he pulled back slightly.
Her eyes were still closed, and he heard her heavy breathing as he tried to calm his own. His heart was almost shivering in his chest, and he couldn't think straight. Not in the least had he been expecting what had just happened.
"Bella," he managed to whisper.
Her eyes opened and he saw the blissful expression on her face that made his heart do somersaults, "Yes?"
"I...love you," Jeremy said, slowly.
Her face lit up and he saw joy shining in her eyes. He barely had time to register it before she jumped into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. He had only a few seconds to wonder just how much the wine had affected her before she rested her forehead against his, looking directly into his eyes, and said, "And I love you...Jeremy."
He felt so giddily unstable that he fell back onto the bed, letting her land on top of him, and knowing he was probably wearing a stupid smile.
She looked down at him in a moment of surprise, and then proceeded to kiss practically every inch of his face.
When she finally pulled back, she opened her mouth as if to speak, then just smiled and rolled off of him, "We should probably get some sleep."
Jeremy, who was so dazed he could barely see clearly, managed to say, "Of course," before pulling himself onto the bed and moving to his side. He glanced over at Bellatrix, and then slid off the bed to shed his jeans and shirt before getting under the covers.
When he looked back at her, she was smiling slightly. Then she inched closer to him and said, "Good night."
The next morning, Jeremy woke up to feel Bellatrix's head resting on his chest. He sighed slightly, and wrapped his arm around her still quite small figure. Then the memories of the previous night came back to him and he allowed his mind to drift off completely to ponder what it had been all about. Suddenly she had seemed so bold, and he only prayed she would not wake up as she had the previous morning.
After a few minutes, he felt her stir against him, and ran his hand lightly up her back. She seemed content to lie there for a while before pushing herself up to look at him. He met her eyes as she searched his, and then she said, "I'm sorry if I...went a little too fast last night."
Jeremy sat up beside her and took her hand, "No, you didn't. There's no need to apologize."
"It just suddenly feels like too much all of a sudden...I wanted more...but I'm not sure what I wanted," Bellatrix said, her voice growing very soft, "I didn't mean to rush you."
Jeremy's expression softened, "Rush me? I don't think you are capable of rushing me. You know I loved every moment of it."
Bellatrix's face took on an expression of awe, "And yesterday was perfect, thank you."
A gentle laugh left Jeremy's mouth at that, "Thank me? No, thank you, Bella."
She shook her head, "You're just too modest...and it's totally adorable."
Jeremy rested his forehead against Bellatrix's and said, "Ah, but you are the adorable one, my darling. What would I do without you?"
Bellatrix placed a finger over his lips and said, "Hush. If you won't take any of my words seriously, then you're not allowed to say anything." She felt him smirk against her finger and she giggled at how close they were. Everything felt so new and wonderful right now that she seemed to have completely forgotten the missing years. She could see what he had been talking about the previous day in the cafe. They had lost three years, but they were together, and they were so happy...what was not to love about that? Most people spent years chasing dreams and seeking happiness in any place they thought could possibly satisfy them...and here they were, and Slytherin pureblood and a Hufflepuff halfblood, as happy as two people could ever be; and without losing those three years, she wondered how it would be possible for this to be the way it was. He had been right: what was not great about this?
"Are you happy?" she whispered, letting her finger slip from his lips to brush against the stubble of about four days on his chin. She hoped he wouldn't shave it off yet, it had become one of the things she was used to about his face, as his facial hair grew at a much slower rate than most men's.
His forehead still against hers, Jeremy placed one hand on the side of her face and began to trace her lips with his thumb, "How could I not be? I have everything I could ever want. Are you happy?"
"I've never been so happy in my life," Bellatrix felt the words leave her before she even thought about it, but she knew in her heart that they were true. Jakob had never made her feel like this...she had never really felt happy with him...just sort of triumphant that she had finally won him over, as she had thought.
Even though all she could see from their closeness was his eyes, she knew he was smiling. She was about to kiss him when suddenly, the moment was interrupted by an owl flying in through a window that didn't seem to be open. Both Bellatrix and Jeremy jumped in surprise, and the owl landed on the head of the bed. They realized they must have one of the panels in the window that an owl could fly through, even when the window was closed.
Jeremy pushed himself across the bed and took the letter tied to the owl's foot, "Thanks," he told it.
He felt Bellatrix beside him wrap an arm around his waist and look over his shoulder as he opened it.
"Oh," he was partially dismayed and partially just annoyed by the contents of the letter.
"You're the owner of a quidditch team!" Bellatrix exclaimed, "Wow...I mean, I wondered what kind of job you would have...but this..."
"And apparently someone wants to buy my team," Jeremy said, thoughtfully, "What do you think?" he asked, turning his head to look at his wife.
Bellatrix seemed caught off guard, "I don't know, it's your team and your decision."
Jeremy put an arm around her shoulders and said, "Love, what's mine is yours, and I want your opinion, so do you think I should sell to him or not?"
Bellatrix thought for a while, then said, "Well...it's a lot of money, five hundred thousand galleons...your team must be popular...but I don't know how much you are making from it."
Jeremy nodded, "Well, neither do I. I'm supposed to meet him at the Coven Inn in two hours to talk about it, though. You don't have to go if you don't want to, though." He added the last part after a mixed look from Bellatrix.
"You read my mind, Kasica...I mean Jeremy," she said.
He kissed her cheek and then turned to climb out of bed, "I'll go get a shower, then. Do you want the shower in this room or in our room?"
Bellatrix laughed, "You're sweet, but I don't have a preference."
Jeremy smiled, "Then you take this one."
"But my clothes are upstairs," Bellatrix said.
Suddenly his mind was brought back to what she was wearing and he felt his face grow slightly warm as he remembered, "Other way around then."
Bellatrix was laughing silently.
"What?" Jeremy looked confused.
"You're so cute when you're embarrassed," Bellatrix managed between giggles.
Jeremy shook his head and picked up his clothes from the floor on the way to the bathroom.
As soon as the door closed behind him, Bellatrix let herself fall back on the pillows which smelled like Jeremy's cologne. She felt happy. She felt really happy. For a few minutes, she just laid there, enojying the feeling, before slipping off the bed, picking up her dress, which had fallen to the floor, and proceeded upstairs to the bathroom in the master bedroom.
After his shower, Jeremy went upstairs wearing nothing but the towel arouond his waist. The door to the master bedroom was open, so he went in and proceeded to search the closet for something nice to wear. Suddenly, he heard Bellatrix's intake of breath behind him and turned to see her with her towel wrapped around her torso. She immediately turned red, but pretended nothing was wrong and joined him in a search for clothes.
"We need to go shopping today," Bellatrix stated simply as she looked through the many outfits she knew she could no longer fit into.
Jeremy turned to her and said, "How about you and Helena go shopping while I'm meeting the buyer?"
"Of course," Bellatrix laughed, "Let me find something I can fit and I'll owl her."
As she moved along the rack where her clothes hung, she got closer to Jeremy, and she could soon smell his cologne. She couldn't help but look up at him. She jumped slightly when she realized he was already looking at her...and he had shaved.
She said the first thing that came to mind, "You shaved."
Jeremy seemed surprised, "Yes, I did."
"Oh," Bellatrix murmured, and averted her eyes to continue her search for an outfit.
Eventually, Jeremy chose a pair of dark jeans and a button-up black shirt. He went to their bathroom to get dressed, and when he came back, Bellatrix had on a light grey dress with an empire waist...which was unzipped in the back.
"Darling, would you zip me up?" Bellatrix looked as if she was about to have an emotional meltdown, so Jeremy quickly searched for the tiny zipper and, after getting it stuck a few times finally told his wife that all was well.
She immediately turned and threw her arms around him, "I'm owling Helena right now," she stated after a moment, and then promptly walked off.
Jeremy checked his watch and then went downstairs to eat breakfast, then back upstairs to find Bellatrix. She was sitting on the edge of the bed reading a letter.
"Alright, Love, I'll see you whenever we both get back," Jeremy said, putting an arm around her shoulders.
Bellatrix stood on tiptoes and gave him a quick peck on the cheek, "Bye."
Jeremy stood there for a moment, and then pulled her in, dipping down to kiss her full on the mouth. For a few moments, she seemed just too surprised to kiss back, but she recovered quickly, and when he pulled back, she was speechless.
They both just looked at each other for a moment, and then Jeremy smirked and said, "Have fun."
"Oh I will, and I hope it goes well for you," Bellatrix said.
And then he left, leaving a smitten Bellatrix staring after him.
A/N: So, please do review and tell me if I should continue or not?