Chapter 17 - the last chapter
Hermione drank greedily of the water from the goblet that Narcissa was holding out for her. It mixed together with the blood and dripped down the sides of her mouth. Narcissa seemed to be bothered by the sight and conjured a cloth and began to wipe it off, resulting in hisses of pain from the girl.
"Be still, I'm no good at healing" Narcissa admitted and Hermione was amazed at how gentle her touch was. She looked up at the woman and their eyes connected. Narcissa had her left hand on her chin to steady it and held the cloth in her right. Her blonde hair was neatly tied back, though a few hairs had escaped and was caressing her perfect face.
Hermione traced the outline of her jaw with her gaze and panicked somewhat as it came closer. She was stunned by the fact that Narcissa Malfoy was about to kiss her and her heart was beating rapidly in her chest.
Narcissa's lips were soft, and somewhat thinner than Bellas, Hermione noted. She tasted of cherries and vanilla. As they broke apart Hermione felt dizzy and somewhat ashamed. She had just allowed Narcissa to kiss her. She could take comfort in the thought that she was bound to a chair and therefor didn't have any other option but to obey. Narcissa let her fingers wander across Hermione's lips, reveling in their softness. She drew Hermione in for another kiss but the girl turned her head, her eyes on the floor.
She didn't have to look at Narcissa to tell that she was disappointed. Afraid to look into her eyes she kept her gaze on the floor. She could hear the shuffling of Narcissa's dress as she stood up and walked away, leaving Hermione alone in the darkness.
The sky was almost black, millions of stars blinking down at the two figures that were hastily making their way towards the house. They had apparated outside the gates, since Bellatrix had cast anti-apparition curses all over her house for the benefit of her safety. She used to be rather paranoid. Harry sprinted towards the mansion that were, in spite of its abandoned state very impressive with its black stone and carefully decorated windows. He had to admit that he never in his life thought he would be cooperating with Bellatrix Lestrange but as he saw her determined face when they entered he knew he could trust her.
"Down here" Bellatrix whispered as she marched down the stone steps leading to the cellar. Harry walked right behind her, his wand raised in front of him. It would've been pitch black around them had it not been for Bellatrix's wand tip that was glowing, casting eerie shadows across the walls.
A big, metall door with several locks met them at the end of the staircase and Harry heard her mutter several unlocking spells before the door came open with a squeak.
Bellatrix once again took the lead as they walked through a corridor. Harry noticed a few paintings on the wall, with what seemed to be people in utmost pain. He shuddered and was not surprised. As if Bellatrix had read his mind she turned around slightly and whispered to him.
"Never mind the paintings Harry, they're history now" her voice was so sweet that Harry couldn't suppress a smile. He had almost forgotten now that this was the woman who had killed his godfather, she was so completely different, it was like she had turned into another person.
Suddenly a noise was heard ahead of them and they froze for a second before Bellatrix began to run towards the noise. She was sure she had heard sobs. Her dress was tangling around her legs and she used her hands to hold it up as she ran. She could tell by the sound of footsteps that Harry was also running.
"Hermione!" Bellatrix shouted as she reached the end of the corridor where a door was standing ajar. She pushed it open and ran inside.
"Hermione" she said again as she ran towards the girl still cuffed to the chair. Hermione's eyes had widened the size of plates when she had heard her lovers voice. Thinking it must be a dream she had only closed them again. But here she was, and.. she looked up at the figure appearing behind Bella, his wand in his hand.
"Bella, behind you!" she screamed but Bella only tapped her wand on the cuffs to free her. Harry blinked and lowered his wand further.
"It's alright Hermione, I told him"
Hermione tried to stand up as soon as the locks were open but her legs refused to cooperate and she swayed before losing her balance. Bellatrix caught her and held her by the waist.
"You told him?" She asked and looked at Harry who seemed a bit annoyed with her lack of acknowledgement towards him.
"Yeah she told me, it.. it was hard to believe at first but.. I can see now that it's really true" He tried to smile but it turned out as more of a grimace. Hermione on the other hand, grinned widely.
"Thank you Harry" she spoke and he nodded.
"What did she do to you?" Bellatrix asked as they walked back through the corridor. Hermione shook her head as she reminisced the cruciatus curse and the powerful blow against her mouth. Then she blushed as she also remembered the kiss.
"She tortured me, but.. I think.. she won't bother us no more"
Bellatrix's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Her sister was a rather cold and composed person, so her doings the last days had really come as a surprise. Perhaps there was something inside of her, a demon that only came out on the rarest occasions...
"Do you have any idea where she might be now?" Bellatrix asked but Hermione shook her head.
"I dunno.. she just left without a word" she didn't say why though, thinking it would be for the best if no one ever knew.
Minerva sighed in exaspiration. Hermione was gone.. again. It was after curfew when Ms. Weasly had stepped into her office, claiming that Hermione wasn't in her dorm and neither was her bag. Minerva had frowned and got up from her seat behind the desk. They had walked together to the Headmasters Office, Ginny scurrying behind her taller teacher.
"Why didn't you alert Professor Dumbledore Ms. Weasly?" Minerva asked merely out of curiosity.
"Because you're her favorite teacher, and well, I don't know the password for his office" She admitted.
Minerva lifted one eyebrow, eyeing her pupil. She wondered how Ginny knew the password for her office but felt it wasn't needed to be discussed right now.
"Puking pastilles" she said and the gargoyle stepped aside for them to enter. Ginny giggled at Dumbledore's choice of password but stopped when she saw the stern expression on her mentors face.
"To what do I owe this pleasure, Minerva, Miss Weasley?" Dumbledore nodded towards Ginny who nodded back.
"It seems that Miss Granger has taken one of her nightly trips again" Minerva said dryly. How the girl failed to realise that there were people here who worried about her she couldn't understand. Not to mention risking her own life by leaving the castle at night.
"Ah" Dumbledore said and got up from his seat. Minerva rolled her eyes at his lack of emotion.
"What do we do?" she yelled, startling Ginny who took a step back as though Minerva would suddenly lash out on her.
"Miss Granger has done this on several occasions am I correct?" The old man asked and played with his beard with his fingertips. Minerva frowned.
"Why yes, but,-"
"And she has returned every single time, hasn't she?" He interrupted Minerva who only shook her head.
"Yes but surely you cannot approve of this! Advanced locking charms should help in this matter" she said and earned a smile from Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling.
"Don't you think she would be able to get past those charms, my dear?" He said and watched as Minerva stood slightly taller.
"I suppose she would, as bright as she is" There was no mistake in her voice, pride over her most ambitious student.
Dumbledore chuckled at her transparentness and received a glare from said person.
"I am sure she will show up at any minute now" He said as though he could see into the future, annoying the older witch further.
Ginny had watched them both in amusement, wondering if the rumours about them were true. They bickered like an old couple, that was for sure.
"Er, should I go back to bed perhaps?" She interrupted the two that didn't seem bothered by the fact that she was still up after curfew. They both looked at her as though they had forgotten about her presense.
"Oh, of course Ms. Weasley. Have a good night" Minerva said and watched as the ginger-haired girl left the office in a hurry.
"Scared her off didn't we?" Dumbledore said, amused and adjusted his glasses on his nose.
Minerva sighed again as she looked at the grandfathers clock above her nightstand. It was near midnight now and Granger had not yet showed up. She went through all the things she was going to say when the girl finally did show up, and felt somewhat better. She glanced down at the book she had been reading, realising she had read the same page about five times already. With a pout she closed the book and placed it on the night stand.
She would just have to wait until tomorrow and see if Hermione would appear.
Something bright caused Minerva to stir in her sleep and she opened her eyes to see a silver doe next to her bed. She sat up so quickly her back protested and she groaned a little.
"We are on our way, we're outside the gates" the doe spoke and vanished before Minerva could register the words. On our way? She quickly tossed the covers aside and got dressed. By the darkness outside she could tell it was still in the middle of the night and she put her warmest cloak on.
Harry, Hermione and Bellatrix were standing outside the gates leading to Hogwarts, all of them feeling rather nervous. Especially Bellatrix.
"She is going to hex me" she admitted her fear and Hermione melted at the sight of Bellatrix chewing her bottom lip. It was so adorable.
"No she isn't" she assured her and grabbed her hand, it was cold. She pulled out her wand and cast a warming spell on both of them, smiling as Bellatrix smiled at her thankfully.
"Here she comes" Harry's voice was heard and they both whipped their heads up to see the distinct figure of Minerva McGonagall as she hurried across the lawn.
As she got nearer Hermione could see her facial expression and felt somewhat amused by the whole situation. Bellatrix had shifted so that she was standing slightly behind Hermione, protecting herself from the older woman who was looking at them as though they were a bunch of singing ghosts.
"Mrs. Lestrange" Minerva nodded and Bellatrix seemed to find the courage to step out from behind Hermione. Her dark locks were obscuring parts of her face but Minerva could tell she was blushing.
"Professor" she nodded back and they were both surprised at how humble her voice was.
Minerva didn't fail to notice their linked hands and Hermione's somewhat bruised lip and wondered what had happened.
"I think it's best if we talk inside my office" she said and watched as the tree went through the gates, a puzzled expression on her face.
Now this was a rather unusual sight, Minerva admitted to herself as Hermione and Bellatrix sat down in the sofa together, their hands still linked. Harry settled down in one of the chairs, his hair as tousled as ever. He also seemed quite taken by the situation but didn't say anything when their eyes met.
Minerva rested her bum on the desk, her hands clasped in front of her.
"So, Ms. Granger, though I am thrilled to see that you are unharmed and well, tell me why I shouldn't take 150 points from Gryffindor for you escaping again"
"I'm afraid that's my fault" Bellatrix said, her cheeks reddening slightly. Minerva blinked, not accustomed to seeing the former Death Eater in such a state.
"No it wasn't" Hermione shook her head.
She began to tell everything that had transpired since she left Hogwarts the first time, resulting in gasps and several "oh dear" from Minerva. Of course Hermione didn't tell her the bad parts about Bellatrix.
"Well, I can't say I'm not surprised when hearing all of this.. I suppose.. I am happy for you?" Minerva seemed hesitant as to what to say but judging from the relieved expression on their faces she could tell she had said the right thing.
"Thank you professor" Hermione got up and hugged her tightly. Minerva stiffened at first but then returned her hug. She felt her eyes water and blinked, oh she was going soft.
After speaking a bit more about the events that night Bellatrix coughed, getting all eyes on her.
"I was wondering, if I could perhaps join the Order?" She spoke hesitantly and felt exhilirated by the fact that she would fight against her Lord, no against Voldemort. The request surprised them all, Harry dropped the ginger newt he was about to eat, Hermione's eyebrows vanished beneath her hair line and Minerva, who had taken a seat next to Harry, looked astonished, her mouth open, not closing until it she remembered that Bellatrix was waiting for her to answer.
"Of course, but surely you must understand the risk you will be taking by joining?"
"I do, but I want to help. I can be a spy, like Severus. He won't suspect a thing" She narrowed her eyes as she thought of the man that had led her to believe that he was worth sacrificing everything for.
"Well, it would give us a huge advantage" Minerva agreed and saw the worried expression on Hermione's face which seemed to have paled during the conversation.
"I will speak to Dumbledore about this and see to it that you will be guarded day and night" She said and watched as Bella's expression changed to that of utmost gratitude.
"I cannot let you do that" she spoke sadly.
"Of course I can! Now I think it's best if you all go to bed. Bellatrix, you can stay in my quarters tonight"
Bellatrix looked to Hermione who looked at her and then at Harry.
"Er, goodnight then" Harry said awkwardly and left just as quickly as Ginny had several hours ago.
Minerva pretended to be interested in one of the documents on her desk while the two women spoke in hushed voices.
"Goodnight my love" Bellatrix whispered and buried her face in Hermione's soft neck. They hugged each other and Hermione stood on her toes to leave a quick peck on Bella's cheek before she stepped out of the office with a 'goodnight Professor'.
Bellatrix felt her heart beat faster. She was now alone with her former teacher. They looked at anywhere but each other but in the end Minerva adressed her.
"Mrs. Lestrange please follow me" she said and walked to a door leading to her private quarters.
"Please call me Bella"
Minerva turned around and their eyes met. She blinked several times before speaking.
"And it's Black, not Lestrange" Bellatrix gave her a shy smile which the older witch returned.
"Alright, follow me Bella"
Harry was walking behind the pair, feeling slightly left out. Now that Ron was gone and Hermione had Bellatrix.. he would just have to find a way to be around them without feeling too awkward about it. He coughed as particles of dust got stuck in his throat but Hermione took it as a sign of attention and she turned around, grinning.
"Harry, come here" she said and grabbed him by the arm. She sneaked her arm behind his back and her left arm behind Bellas. They were outside of Hogsmeade, about the only place where they all could be together. Minerva had introduced Bellatrix to the other staff members who had resentfully accepted her. Bellatrix had seen Draco in the corridor on the sixth floor and sniggered as he had tripped on his own feet in surprise. She knew he wouldn't say anything to Voldemort, he was far too much of a chicken to do so.
"What do you think will happen after this summer?" Hermione asked as they turned a corner.
"Well, before all of this started, Dumbledore gave me private lessons remember?" Harry said and Hermione nodded as she remembered when he had told them at the Burrow.
"There is something called Horcruxes..." Harry explained what he had seen in the pensieve while Hermione and Bellatrix eagerly listened.
"So we need to destroy all of them?" Hermione asked, perplexed.
"Yeah, I think so" Harry said.
"Do we even know what they are?" Hermione asked again.
"Well, two of them has already been destroyed so there's five left. I think Dumbledore said something about a cup, with Hufflepuffs crest on it"
Harry and Hermione kept walking without noticing that they had left the third person behind. Bellatrix had suddenly stopped in her tracks as she remembered something.
"I think I know where that cup is"
Harry and Hermione turned around to see Bellatrix smiling victoriously. They glanced at each other but didn't speak.
"It's in my vault at Gringotts" she admitted.
Hermione's mouth fell open and she hurriedly made her way over to her lover.
Harry tried not to look as the women kissed heatedly in front of him. He coughed when they seemed to have forgotten about him.
"Oh, sorry Harry" Hermione grinned, telling she wasn't really sorry at all. Harry rolled his eyes.
"It's ok, I guess I better get used to it" His mouth twitched as he spoke.
"Got that right" Bellatrix said as she pulled Hermione in for another kiss.
Harry pretended to be nauseous and began walking back to the castle, leaving the two love birds alone.
Oh fluffy fluff. I couldn't help but turn this last chapter into a fluffy one.
I hope you are satisfied with the ending, I really tried to make it happy but not sappy..
Will start on my next Bellatrix/Hermione story pretty soon, which will be more angsty I think.
PLEASE REVIEW! I write to make you happy so it's the least you can do!