The dark lord was away from the country looking for gregorvitch, the malthoy's were out and Draco was asleep in his chamber. The other death eaters were away doing various tasks for the dark lord.

Rudolphus lestrange prowled the dark corridors of malthoy manor deep in thought, his mind filled with images of Bellatrix lestrange. His heart ached for her, the long miserable years spent in Azkaban had separated them for a very long time. Not a day had gone by in Azkaban when he did not think of her, as soon as a happy memory of her had approached his mind it was instantly sucked away by the Dementors. Leaving him cold and alone, with only her image in his mind for company. Images of her screaming face as she was dragged away to Azkaban, away from him.

Now the situation was even worse. She was no longer locked away from him, she now walked freely around him allowing his eyes to feast upon her. She was so close to him at times and yet she was still so far away.

After their breakout from Azkaban he had hardly spoken to her or had a chance to be alone with her, the dark lord had kept them all very busy. He only saw her at death eater meetings with the dark lord and had only spoken to her when she was surrounded by a bunch of other death eaters and even then their conversation was concerned with fulfilling the dark lord's commands. Sometimes he would stand so close to her that he would be able to touch her if he reached out, but he dared not in the presence of the dark lord or other death eaters.

Once when the dark lord had seemed really occupied he had tried staring at her, willing her to stare back at him. To somehow communicate and tell him with her eyes what she could not say aloud in the presence of others. She had never responded to his silent pleas, she had continued to stare blankly at the opposite direction. But he had to quickly banish all thoughts and feelings and shield his emotions with occulumency as the dark lord never stayed distracted for too long. The dark lord was a powerful legilimens and he doubted he even needed eye contact to read the minds of those around him. If she ever looked at him, it was the same look she gave everyone else. She treated him just like everyone else, acting cold and distant, hardly acknowledging his existence other than being another one of the dark lord's servants. She was always angry, not that she hadn't had a fiery temper in the past. It was one of the things he had loved about her, she always looked frighteningly beautiful when flames of anger burned in her eyes, followed by the slight reddening of her pale cheeks.

But now she was always angry and on the edge, the smallest of the things made her lose control. It wasn't the same, in the past he could feel the raw energy of anger projecting from her, setting her eyes alight. Before he had always felt the joy she experienced when she ordered and frightened the others by using the power of her anger over them. But now it was just plain naked bitter anger, there were no flames lighting her eyes anymore. He could see she felt no pleasure when she shouted with anger at the others but instead she experienced frustration, annoyance and disappointment, it was almost like the fire in her had died down.

She had become even more unstable than she had ever been before, it's true that in the past no one had ever thought she was normal. She even had a reputation of being the craziest, the most merciless and the cruellest death eater that had ever served the dark lord. If she was crazy before, well now she was one inch away from complete insanity. After her bursts of anger, she would laugh harshly and sometimes uncontrollably, she looked and sounded so deranged that she scarred the other death eaters. Only in the presence of the dark lord did she appear completely normal like any other death eater.

Her belief in the dark lord had never faltered in Azkaban but he could see that the Years spent in Azkaban had changed his Bellatrix so much. He could see it had broken down her spirit that used to be full of energy, taken away whatever little bit of sanity she had possessed in the past. Now he feared that Azkaban had made her forget his love for her, was it possible that in her years at Azkaban she has fallen out of love with him, forgotten him completely. That he was nothing more to her now than just another companion death eater serving the dark lord.

Rudolphus lestrange knew that tonight was his only chance to see Bellatrix alone, to have all of his questions answered. The dark lord and all of his death eaters were away and Rudolphus was sure that an opportunity like this would never ever arise again. He walked towards the room he knew Bellatrix would be in, after a few minutes he stood in front of the door. He placed his hands on the handle and hesitated for a second, did he really what to know the answers? What if she confirmed what he feared? Finally making up his mind he pushed these thoughts aside and pushed open the door.

He saw her standing next to a table littered with old books, she held a large book in both of her hands and her head was hidden behind it as she read in deep concentration. She didn't look up as he came in and silently closed the door.

He stared at her for a while, watching the dancing shadows make moving patterns on her hands as the candles flickered. He knew she was researching something for the dark lord, perhaps a new potion or a weapon was being designed. Whatever it was he would find out later at one of the meetings. He cleared his throat to make his presence known, she looked up startled for a second and then in a flash it was replaced with a look of anger. For a second it looked as thought she was going to shout at him but then the anger faded and her face grew expressionless. She ignored him and resumed reading the book. Rudolphus watched her in silence for a few minutes not knowing how to break the silence, how to start asking the questions he wanted to ask.

After another minute she looked up at him with an annoyed expression.

"Why are you still standing there, what do you want?" she said harshly

"I wanted to see you" he said unsteadily

She threw him a deathly glare and he started to walk towards her, her expression grew more deadlier with each step he took to get closer. He stood so close now, he could touch her if he wanted to. He looked into her eyes, her black fierce cruel eyes looked back at him.

"Leave me alone, go away" she shouted snapping the book loudly shut.

She looked completely crazy and deadly, a look that said she would kill him right now if he didn't leave. He found her dangerous look increasing his cravings for her, he wanted to feel the fire burning in her eyes running through his veins, he wanted to taste the pale skin that was turning pink. Rudolphus was scarred of her and burning with desire for her at the same time. He had spent so many years in Azkaban yearning for her and he wasn't going to let something like fear get in the way. What ever happened, he wasn't going to give up without a fight. He hesitated a little and then grabbed hold of one of her wrists with a shaky hand. The book dropped out of her hands as she jumped startled.

"Let go" she snarled as she tried to pull her hand back forcefully.

He tightened his grip and continued to hold her, he wanted to say so many things to calm her down but he couldn't think of anything. He said the only thing he could think of clearly at the moment.

"Bellatrixsssss" he said softly, hissing the last part of her name, the way he used to say her name when they were alone together. He looked at her hoping that it would change something but her expression remained unchanged. Then after a few seconds she froze, he felt her hand go limp in his grip as she stopped struggling. Her angry face relaxed and her eyes softened and grew round. She didn't look deadly and frightening anymore. She looked so sad, lost and lonely as she stared back into his eyes. At that moment he knew that all was not lost, that she still felt something for him, that she still loved him after all those years.