Literatti: Fiction By Deslea
Deslea R. Judd
Pairing: Bellatrix Lestrange/Tom Riddle
Word Count: 5700
Summary: In 1981, Tom and a dying Bella throw caution to the wind. It saves them both. Includes four artworks.
More Fic: On AO3 or my fic site.
Feedback: Love the stuff. On AO3 or at deslea at deslea dot com.
It's no one's fault, it's nobody's fault
I fell on you and you on me
That's what humans do
Then they pass on through
But I think we can't, don't you?
-- Missy Higgins, "Peachy"
August 1981 - Bellatrix
She was falling away from him now, but they had been falling together for a long time before that.
Bella stared up at him as she fell, her robes billowing up around her. Stared up with agony as she slipped out of his reach, as she fell away from him, further and further. This was her final moment, and she could accept that, but what she couldn't accept was that she'd just had her final moment with him and she hadn't known it until it was over.
It was just a stupid bewitched broom, an amateur's trick. So amateur she hadn't even anticipated it. She had shielded herself but not her broom, and it had thrown her off, turned traitor on her, and Tom had grabbed for her, but his hand had closed uselessly around the hem of her dress. It had torn, leaving him staring, unbelievingly at the scrap of fabric in his hand.
It had been Tom who had screamed for her, Tom who had retaliated against her attacker. Not Rodolphus, not her husband. Rodolphus was fond of her, after a fashion, but only that, and soon enough after she crashed to her death, he would replace her. Their society had thrown them together and they had gotten along amicably enough, nothing more.
She had never been alone in a room with Tom, had never dared. The air between them had been electric from the moment they set eyes on each other, and that was dangerous. It was theoretically possible that Rodolphus would kill her - it was not unheard of in these situations - but more likely, he would simply make the socially-required show of denouncing her as a whore.
Her denunciation was tolerable, but the collateral damage to the Cause was not. She was not a strategic asset. No Greater Good arguments would fly. She was just a woman, and a woman was a divergence, a toy. Tom could take Rodolphus' home and his freedom and even his life, if the Greater Good were served, but not his toy. If he took her, it would be the beginning of the end. The loyalty of Purebloods was a fickle thing, and Tom was not one of them by birth. That loyalty was crucial.
So they had never been alone, had never touched. Never spoken a word of it. But it was there. It was there at dinner parties when they sat watchfully across the table from one another. It was there when he gave her orders, there when they exchanged polite dances at galas. It was there all the time, forever breaking her heart.
She had loved him, and now it was ending, and soon she would be broken on the ground, all her tears behind her.
It was a relief.
August 1981 - Tom
It was such a human response, going after her.
He knew that later, and he knew it because it never even occurred to him to try to catch or slow or cushion her with magic. His mind never even got as far as calculation or decision. It was simply that she was slipping away and he needed to follow.
He was vaguely aware of the implications as he descended, flying head-first, dropping like a stone. Aware, in that way of the seasoned politician, turning it over automatically in the boardroom of his mind, but without much interest or care.
Firstly, he had followed her, and Rodolphus, presumably, had not. Secondly, he had done it in defiance of his own long-standing rules. That would raise interest, and questions. He had marked her as exceptional, and that was something he had been very careful not to do - at least, not separately from her husband.
If Bella lived, damage control would be required.
At this thought, it impressed on him suddenly that she could really die here. He was so accustomed to defeating death when he wanted, and so accustomed to caring little for the deaths of others, that he hadn't quite put together that there was a person who he wanted to live, and yet she might not.
The knowledge hit him like a punch to the gut.
He could see her now, and her lips were forming his name. He rasped out hers, his face forming deep lines that hurt. His eyes were sore from the wind and he had a horrid suspicion they might be wet with tears. He had let her in somewhere along the line, and that would have been all right if he had seen it and protected her, but he hadn't. He hadn't known he'd cared enough for that until it was too late.
Bella, oh Merlin, Bella.
He had defeated death, over and over. Surely he could do it again.
August 1981 - Bellatrix
Tom was following her.
She stared up at him in confusion. Utterly dumbfounded. People who fell (figuratively or literally) were supposed to be left to die. For the Greater Good. It had been drummed into her for a decade - mostly by him.
"Tom!" she screamed, but her voice was lost on the wind.
His face was working, his lips forming the shape of her name. He was flying straight downwards, trying to catch up with her. A terrifying move to do, and to watch as well.
He wasn't going to make it. She knew that. She stretched up her arms anyway. Tree canopies passed through her peripheral vision, then shadows. She was close to ground. She seized her muscles up tight, trying instinctively to shield her spine and her neck.
Suddenly, he darted to the left and around her. He swooped across her path, roughly, slamming into her bare inches above the ground. They had spent a decade drawn together as though by magnets in the air, but now when he finally held her, it was clumsy and brutal, shoving them hard into a bed of ferns that dampened the impact but did not remove it. They crashed and rolled and crashed some more, until she landed hard with him on top of her.
They lay there, her clasped tight beneath him, cool night air punctuated by her rasping cries of shock and fear. There were leaves against the side of her face and dirt beneath her clinging, clawing fingertips. Her body slumped hard into the ground and his weight was all over her, the only thing telling her she was really still alive.
"Bella," he muttered into her hair, "oh, Merlin, Bella."
"Tom," she gasped. "You said - never break formation - let people fall - never-"
"Not you," he growled. "Did you really think I wouldn't come for you?"
Bella broke into sudden, despairing tears at that, because that growl said what they had never said, never allowed each other close enough (or alone enough) to say. She loved him and he loved her and that was why this wasn't just some enchanting flirtation that could be fixed by a good hard fuck. It was real and it hurt and it would always hurt. It had hurt for a decade and she had no reason to think it wouldn't keep on hurting forever.
He knew what she was thinking, of course, and he held her tighter. It wasn't for her, she knew that. It was for him. Tom was greedy, greedy for life and power and love and her. She could feel it in his body curled hard over hers, his arms dragging her hard against his chest. He held her like he was fucking her, like he was pressed into her as far as he could go and it still wasn't enough.
"Do it," she whispered, pressing her hips into him. "Just once. Please." She suspected she was injured, maybe quite badly so, but if she couldn't have this she thought she would starve to death anyway. And if she was more injured than she knew, if this was the end for her after all, she couldn't die with this not done.
There was a rough, hitching sound in Tom's chest - equal parts shock and grief, perhaps - but he didn't argue. He closed his fingers on her compulsively, whispering her name, and then he was unbuttoned and inside her, deep and too soon and she didn't care, she shifted inside and took him anyway. She wouldn't have for anyone else, but for him, yes. Merlin, yes. There was no desire in her battered body but plenty in her heart, and it was a labour of love.
He didn't move, not for a long time. Just stayed there as deep as he could go. His breath was hot on her as he kissed her, and she didn't move either, wouldn't have if she could have. Just held him. Held him tight, drawing him down to her form, moulded heavily to the ground.
Finally, he moved, just a little. She did too, working him with her muscles deep inside. Both their instincts were warring, instinct to move and seek release, instinct to stay close and never let go. He had never said he loved her, never would either, but she knew anyway.
It was there in that war he waged deep inside her warmth.
August 1981 - Tom
She was going to die, and he couldn't stop it.
She suspected it, but he knew it, could feel it rising around her. Death was waiting for her, standing over them, waiting for him to finish with her. Somehow enough of her had been spared to allow them to do this, but it wasn't enough to save her life. It was nowhere near enough.
Her breaths were laboured, and not from him - he was barely moving. It was her ribs, he thought, and maybe her lung as well. There was a faint, sickly scent about her, blown away before he could really smell it, but he associated it with people he had wounded in the belly. He was afraid to get off her in case his weight was all that was really holding her together.
It should have sickened him, being so close to this dying thing. He should have been afraid that she would die with him inside her, afraid of being swept along with her. Instead he couldn't get close enough.
What the hell was happening to him?
You can't have her, he thought desperately, and he despised the tears that spilled over his cheek. I won't let you.
It was more pain than pleasure for her, he thought, and in its way for him too. But there was peace in her expression too. She tasted of tears when he kissed her, but the corners of her mouth were upturned as well. She didn't move her hips or her thighs at all - he wasn't even sure if she could - but she moved inside, holding him, as though he was the only thing keeping her rooted to the earth at all. His orgasm approached on a cataclysmic wave of grief, a dark certainty that he was giving up, that he'd done his dash, that he was handing her to death to do as it will, but he had to anyway. Had to fill her with whatever life he could. His climax left him shivering, reeling like he'd taken a terrible blow.
He had just enough wherewithal to cover them both, before he slumped back on top of her, and then he blacked out.
August 1981 - Oubliette
He is carried along. Waves of warmth pump and pulse, driving him, but then they begin to fail and falter. It seems very important to keep them moving. Power leaves him and bring them to life once more.
Blood, he thinks in the confusion of his fever-dream. I'm in her - blood?
His awareness falls away as quickly as it rises, and he returns to his journey, methodically overcoming one obstacle after another. Jagged bones fall across his path. He fixes them. He passes free-floating objects, watches as they lodge into soft, bleeding walls. He blows them to bits and watches them float harmlessly away. He treads in liquid that smells all wrong, and purifies it. He comes upon a beautiful, perfectly-formed sphere, and watches in fascination as it is carried along by tiny fibres in the walls. It passes him, and comes to rest and settles gently, rightly. Slotting into place like a seedling in a garden bed.
A child, he thinks. If she lives, there will be a child.
She will live. He has seen enough now to be sure of it, and he can guess why, too. The only question is how.
Is she my Horcrux? he wonders. Or am I hers?
October 1981 - Bellatrix
"It's dangerous, My Lord," Rodolphus said softly, but he didn't mean it was dangerous at all. What he meant was that he wasn't entirely comfortable with the Dark Lord's plan to kill an innocent child.
Bella felt no such qualms. She was two months gone, now, and deep in the ruthlessness of maternity. It was not only acceptable for the Potter child to die; it was right. The Potter child was a mongrel child of a Mublood; hers was a Black, and a descendant of Salazar, through Tom. And the Potter child was a threat to them all.
"It is the safest time to do it," Tom said. "Why wait for the child to act against us when we already know it will happen? Doing it this way is best for us all." His gaze rested on Bella a moment. "I grow weary of seeing our noble blood spilled when we have a solution within our grasp. Why, your own wife was nearly killed not so long ago, was she not?"
Rodolphus' mouth formed a grim line. "Indeed," he said stiffly, "and we are grateful to you for saving her."
Not for the first time since Rodolphus had found them that night, his eyes alert with suspicion and slow, rolling anger, Bella wondered if that was true at all. Automatically, her hand twitched, protectively seeking her belly, and then she stayed it.
Rodolphus knew nothing of the pregnancy. He had not cooperated with her efforts to bed him, and now it was too late to pass the baby off as a Lestrange at all. That was a problem that would need to be solved - she already had the seeds of a plan involving a visit to a distant cousin who would conveniently die in childbed - but not today.
"It was my pleasure, Rodolphus. You are, after all, my most loyal servant. I could not see you forfeit your dear wife. Not when I had the power to prevent it. Loyalty has its rewards, has it not?"
Bella smothered a snort of derision. Tom had employed this explanation for his behaviour more than a dozen times in her hearing. All the men fell for it hook, line and sinker. The women did not. This did not surprise Bella in the slightest.
"We are both honoured by your warm regard, My Lord," Bella said without a shade of a blush.
"Thank you, Bella," Tom replied mildly, allowing his gaze to rest on her for the merest second. "And as for the Potter child, if he dies still innocent," he said, apparently in concession to Rodolphus' sensibilities, "perhaps the gods will have mercy on him and grant him a new life in our midst. Better that than allow him to be cursed for his blood and his deeds."
Rodolphus looked entirely unconvinced, but said only, "Yes, My Lord," and left it at that.
October 1981 - Tom
Making a Horcrux with Bella was something he should have done a decade ago.
He still had no satisfactory explanation for it, or even enough understanding of the mechanism to be absolutely sure which direction the Horcrux had taken. There was something mildly different about her to his other Horcruxes, though, and he was inclined to think that he was hers rather than the other way around.
If he had to guess, he thought he had somehow done it in the cataclysm of his grief, his desperation to be inside her, to stay there and hold her with him, death be damned. There had been a splintering inside him, some crystal that had shattered, and then it had happened. There had been no death to pay for it, but perhaps his total surrender of his self in that moment had been enough. Didn't they call orgasm le petit mort?
(Nagging at the back of his mind was the thought that their child yet might be taken as the price, but he grimaced and pushed that thought away. The child was more or less hypothetical to him at this point, but it was still theirs, and he would kill anyone who tried to take it or harm it. As paternal instincts went, it was fairly mild and abstract, but he had to admit that it was there).
However it had happened, whatever price had been paid or was yet to be paid, there were benefits. The most compelling one tonight was that he could be with her whenever he liked. For that alone he would have done it. It would have saved him a decade of frustration.
It wasn't quite like touching her. Not quite. But it was pretty damned close. He could send his mind into her body, do things to her there, and feel them himself. With a little extra effort, he could hear her thoughts as well.
For that, he could tolerate her continued marriage to bloody Lestrange. He supposed he would see to an accident for Rodolphus sooner or later, but it was best if some time elapsed first. His damage-control version of Bella's fall had been accepted widely, but not universally.
He had mentally earmarked Bella's fourth month for Rodolphus to die. She could then reveal the pregnancy, and he could gallantly step in to support his most faithful soldier's widow. If he played his cards right, he could probably fuck her before the body was cold, and still come out a hero.
There were other benefits, the chief one being that Bella was now, for practical purposes, immortal. She could only die if he died, and he had taken considerable precautions against that eventuality.
He supposed that might become a problem if he ever wanted to kill her, but there were always prisons if required. And while his logical mind insisted he consider the possibility, he could not imagine ever really wanting her gone.
Far more pressing was the fact that he had apparently, rather inconveniently fallen in love with her, but her newfound resistance to death made this a much more palatable state of affairs. He had accepted it, and even found that he rather liked it. In the end, it was only the possibility of loss that made love a weakness, after all.
He felt a tingle of pleasure flicker through him. Bellatrix, touching herself. Signalling that she was in bed, waiting. Tom reflected with considerable amusement that Bella's clitoris had become the equivalent of a doorbell. Avon calling, indeed.
"Coming, dear," he murmured with a smirk, and closed his eyes and got to work.
November 1981 - Bellatrix
Their joy had been short-lived.
Two months, they'd had together. Two months of joy. Two months of communion of body and mind at night. Two months feeling their child begin to grow. Two months of plans for the future. And now all of it was gone.
Tom had been gone a month, now, injured and vanished after his attempt on the Potter child, and she and Rodolphus and Rabastan had been arrested trying to find him. (The Ministry took exception to the idea that the Dark Lord's life was worth more than the sanity of a couple of miserable little aurors who had stood in their way, which just went to show they had no decent priorities and no bloody idea how to run a country. No idea at all).
She felt him, weakly. That was how she knew he lived. It was better than not feeling him, but that pale, voiceless essence of him frightened her. It frightened her a lot.
Bella stared out the barred windows. She had never felt so helpless. He was out there, somewhere, and she couldn't go to him. She had failed him.
"Bellatrix?" Narcissa said gently. It wasn't the first time. Time ran together for Bella, and sometimes she would look up and realise her sister had been here for hours. Just waiting for her to respond.
"Yes?" Bella said. Her voice felt (and sounded) rusty.
"I said, do you need anything?"
Bella thought about it. She had written a list the night before, but she didn't want to use it. But there was no choice. Reluctantly, she reached under her mattress and handed her sister the piece of paper she had hidden there.
Narcissa peered at it.
Bella hadn't had anything to write with, so she had etched her list with her fingernails dipped in dirt. It took a while for her sister to decipher what she had written. Narcissa read it over once without reaction, then a second time, mouth falling open, the colour draining from her face.
"This is to-"
Narcissa burst out, "But you wanted children! I thought you couldn't-"
Bella said bitterly, "Apparently it was Rod who couldn't, not me."
Narcissa's jaw dropped a little as her meaning registered. "Rodolphus isn't the - but then-" she broke off. Compassion and horror spreading over her delicate features as comprehension dawned. "Him? Oh, Bella."
"They'll take it," Bella whispered urgently. "They'll keep it hostage, or use it somehow. There's no possibility of passing it off as Rod's. He's furious with me for getting him into this. As soon as he finds out, he'll trade the information to reduce his sentence. I don't have a choice."
Narcissa thought on it for a while. Bella let her, watched her think it through. Let her search for options and find none.
At last, Narcissa looked at her again.
"All right, then," she said, and she reached out and held her for the first time in years. "All right."
For the first time in years, Bella held on too.
December 1981 - Bellatrix
Bella kept the child inside her for as long as she could.
It took a few visits for Narcissa to get all the ingredients in, anyway. Half the potion came as a credible, though not very effective hair potion. More came in as a lotion for a rash. The last couple of ingredients, perishables, came in as a suicide potion. Narcissa didn't even need to bribe her way in with that one. For the Mad Witch Lestrange, as the Daily Prophet was calling her, the warden was willing to let that one in for free.
Never, she thought bitterly. Never.
She waited until she was four months along, the latest she could do it and be sure that it would work, latest she could be sure they wouldn't know. She let it grow, let it feel her love and her warmth. She daydreamed those months away, dreaming of a life with him that would never be.
She said at her trial that he would return, told herself her chair was her throne as his queen. Told herself that the chains around her were great, ceremonial jewellery and armour. She knew it was a lie, but it was knowledge she kept far away. Closer was a beautiful world in her mind, a world she nurtured and grew for their child, warm sweet world that would be all it would ever know.
She held the child close to her until Yule, festival of rebirth, and then finally, as the solstice died away, she took the potion. She laboured in silence, bearing it, bearing the pain, bearing down and bearing through. When it was over, she buried what there was under straw.
That night, and for years after, she would look at that sad little corner of her cell, and think:
Come back. Both of you, please Merlin, come back.
September 1994 - Tom
He hadn't been this close to her in over a decade.
Tom thought this as he sat in his miserable little form in his miserable little room in his miserable ancestral house. With the help of the rat-like creature that was very nearly his only servant, he had managed to craft himself a basic body, but basic was very much the operative word.
All magic, fundamentally, came down to the use of energy and the mental capacity to focus and manipulate it, and Pettigrew was only minimally equipped with either. As for him, he had mental capacity aplenty, but his reserves of energy were non-existent. He simply did not have the physical mass to store it, and did not have the energy to increase his mass, either. It was a vicious cycle.
Not for long, though. Soon, his plans would be complete. Soon, his servant's flesh, powered by the nourishing blood of his enemy (nothing was more powerful than hate, nothing at all) would follow the blueprint of his father's cells and build him anew. Soon he would have a body once more.
What sort of body? No one knew. This was dark magic, punishable by death, and by its nature, it did not tend to be documented. He hoped against hope that it would be the body he had once known, but he knew that was unlikely. Apart from anything else, the ritual did not take any cells from the mother. When the ritual had been written, it was believed that the father provided the entire basis for development and the mother provided only the nourishment.
He supposed it might be possible to adapt the spell, but he had no margin for error. It offended him, to create a body without a link to his magical bloodline, but at the end of the day, it was only a means of transport, nothing more. (This was not an insight he ever planned to share with his Pureblood followers).
But it would be a body he could use. A body that could walk and fly. A body that could fly to her. A body that could catch her in the freefall out of her own mind.
He felt her as he always felt her, faintly, as though muffled with cotton wool. Three times, there had been crystal clear moments; moments when both of them were capable of clarity at the same time. The last one had been three years before; he had been strengthened by unicorn's blood, and when he reached out, she had answered. The freefall had begun not long after, when she learned that the Potter boy had weakened him once more. She had survived so much, losing him, losing their child, but that blow had broken her and she had never really come back.
He had been with her in the beginning; had spent months in his formless state right there in her cell with her, completely unable to communicate with her. He had been there as she nurtured the life within her, and with her when she ended it. He had felt something, too; felt terrible hurts of lonely childhood days begin to lose their power as he immersed himself in the warmth of the world she had created for them in her mind.
He had healed there, healed his fractured mind and soul. And he had felt some wound inside himself close.
He knew, vaguely, that he could make a choice now, if he wanted. He could seize his chance for some other sort of life. Take the blood of his enemy to heal himself, and then stop. Just stop. Call all debts paid and wipe the slate clean.
But if he did that, if he simply restored himself and no more, he would be saying that what was done to him was all right. That it was settled. And it wasn't. He had been exiled to live in misery, then taken back as a rootless itinerant, no better than a Mudblood with no birthright at all. They had recognised him later, yes, but too late. To grow up as someone who belonged was something that had been taken and never given back.
It could only be taken back by taking. By inflicting more than they had inflicted on him. Any less was to participate in his own injustice, and now, Bella's and his child's as well. He couldn't do that. He wouldn't do that.
So resolved, Tom closed his eyes, retreated to his memories of the world Bella had created in her mind so long ago, and he settled down to wait.
December 1995 - Bellatrix
Once more, she was falling; once more, he was there to catch her.
She had held on to her mind for a long, long time. Long after Rodolphus had surrendered his. But to have him near for a year and then lose him all over again had fractured something inside her. It had never really mended. She was sane enough to comprehend her rising madness, but that was no help. It only made it worse.
But finally, one ordinary winter's day, he came for her. He and his forces stormed the prison, and she had stood by her window, staring at him. Waiting for him. Walls crumbled, and she cared little; people screamed, and she cared less still. Dementors passed her unnoticed. She waited.
At last, as the rabble died down a little, he came.
His thoughts preceded him - I'm not what I was - but she was pressed to him, her arms thrown around his neck, before he could finish the thought.
"You're glorious," she whispered, kissing him urgently.
He was thinner and cooler and paler, sparer and more powerful. She had loved who he was before, but who he was now was ablaze with triumph over people who had tried to destroy him. Harsh like whipping lashes of fire, but beautiful too.
He gave a low rasp as she thought it, pressed her hard against him and growled out her name. Walked her backwards and pressed her to the wall. Pressing like he couldn't get close enough.
"I was with you," he muttered. "I was always with you."
"I know," she whispered, and just for a moment, it washed over her, what they'd lost. His body and her mind, and their child, now just dust in the corner of the room. Her lips trembled, and she stayed them. Just.
Tom's voice was solemn. "Everything we lost will be revisited on them, Bella. All of it."
She nodded, blinking back tears, and he kissed her. Hard.
After long, long moments of this, she pulled back a little. Forced a watery grin. "I'm not fucking you in this shithole, you know. I haven't had a shower in fourteen years."
He snorted. "I haven't had a body in fourteen years."
Bella bit her lip and looked up at him slyly. "Does this one, uh, work?"
Tom smirked, and she could see the ghost of his old smile then. "Come home with me and find out."
She did, it did, and at last, their life together had begun.
Epilogue: May 1998 - Bellatrix
The Avada Kedavra was not as instantaneous as the folklore made out.
Bella knew it, as only those who have killed know it. Even when a body stopped, the mind lingered. Just a little. Just long enough to feel its soul's tethers break free. If you killed often enough, you learned to see it. It was in the eyes.
That was one of her favourite things about killing. She didn't believe in a heaven or a hell (what kind of a miserable person needed an afterlife to live by a code?). But she did believe that people ended their lives at peace with their choices - or not. Which way people went had little to do with what sort of life they lived, and everything to do with why they did it. She had seen callous murderers go peacefully, and some of the most loving and kind people go into torment. The combined moments of so many deaths had taught her much about life.
Bella believed she would die at peace, and she was right.
She died in the final battle as the world crumbled around them both. She fell before he did - her body did, at least - but her mind lingered, fuzzy, clinging on as strength and air faded away. Needing to see how it would turn out before she could have her peace.
She saw him fall, saw his gaze fall on hers. Saw peace fall over his eyes. She wasn't surprised. Tom had lived and died on his own terms. They looked on him and saw defeat, perhaps, but she saw a man who had returned every hurt the world had inflicted on him, and then some. It was the only victory that outlives a man.
All right, then.
She felt the pull, the growing insistence of her soul, and now she let go. Let the darkness fall over her mortal eyes. Felt tethers give way, not once, but twice. The second give was remote, somehow.
Part of you lived inside me, Tom's voice said, answering her question before it was formed in her mind. Ever since that first time.
Of course it did, she thought. Of course. Recognising something that, deep down, she already knew.
She felt it then, the crash. Immortal selves colliding. Drawn together as though by magnets in the air.
She fell with him, as she had always fallen with him.
As long as they fell together, she could fall forever.
Thanks for following me on yet another meandering little jaunt through Tom and Bella's amoral, dystopian, deliciously fun world.
I have a couple of personal head-canon details for this universe that were not visible to either Tom or Bella, so I couldn't fit them into the narrative. But they may be interesting pieces of trivia for people who like that sort of thing.
The first thing is that the same instability in Tom's soul that shattered it when he tried to kill Harry, already existed when he cleaved so completely and desperately to Bella, and that was how the Horcrux was created. I don't think their child was the sacrifice - I think that no sacrifice was required. His soul was already shattering and free-wheeling, and hers was brittle because she was in the process of dying, and part of each bonded together. It was a simple freak accident.
Also, contrary to her own interpretation of events, Bella's death was actually prevented (briefly) by the fact that Tom was alive for a short time after she died. While she knew she had a special connection with Tom after the night of the fall, she never knew specifically that he was her Horcrux. So she believed that her lingering awareness was simply a protracted version of deaths she had seen before, and/or a product of her will to live long enough to see what happened to Tom. If Tom had lived, she would have remained disembodied until he could give her a new form, but when he died, both of their physical anchors were destroyed, and they went on to their own version of King's Cross Station.
As for King's Cross Station: After Tom lost the damaged piece of his soul that Harry saw at King's Cross, he immersed what was left of himself in the nurturing world Bella made for their child. He still embarked on his revenge, yes, but the fundamentally damaged child healed. So if Bella's view of the afterlife is right, it's just possible they're back in that world right now.
It may be a dysfunctional and dystopian version of happy ever after, but then, that's Bella and Tom. <3