Unexpected Truce

Punishments

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

A special thank to The Lonely God With a Box for beta'ing my story.

A/N: I am so sorry for the lack of updates, I've been dealing with a very bad case of writer's block. I hope you enjoy this chapter.

Chapter 38

Lucius Malfoy walked down the corridor to his manor with a slight edge in his step. He did not want to be the one to deliver this news, but he knew that the Dark Lord would want to know. It had been a long and stressful few months inside Malfoy Manor. Within the past few months, the manor had taken up a few more residents. The Malfoys were now hosts to a few Death Eaters and the Dark Lord himself. Lucius knew that Narcissa was not pleased at having all those people, (he used the term loosely,) or the Dark Lord for that matter, in her house. But there was nothing that she could do. Malfoy senior knew that refusal was not an option, especially after what happened at the graveyard in June. They just had to put up with their house guests.

If having Death Eaters in his house wasn't enough, lately he had been charged with finding Bella and Fenir. Those two had been missing for a couple of weeks and Voldemort was not a patient man when it came to wanting his followers found. Well after weeks of an exhaustive search, Lucius was able to track down where the two missing followers were. After finding them, Lucius found out about their little extra curricular activities. Everyone knew that Voldemort did not want to make any premature moves. After coming back into his body, he wanted Harry Potter to be seen as crazy, to make his resurrection quiet for now. So that meant no raids. No attacks. Everything was to stay as it was at the beginning of the year.

Now, things had happened that Bellatrix and Fenir were going to have to answer to. Lucius wasn't surprised by the werewolf's actions. That creature had always acted on impulse. If it was something to do right now, then Fenir was right there. But what really surprised him was that Bella would defy the Dark Lord like that and so willingly.

Even though Lucius did not care for his sister-in-law, he was not looking forward to telling the Dark Lord that she had gone behind his back and attacked several people and places.

Lucius made his way to his study, knowing that was were The Dark Lord was. He carefully opened the door and immediately knelt down to him.

“My lord,” Lucius humbled himself.

Voldemort looked up from the paper he was reading from behind the desk. He looked at his loyal follower.

“Yes, Lucius.”

“I have found them.” Lucius did not make an attempt to raise his head from the position it was in.

“Look at me,” Voldemort sneered, waiting for his statement to be complied. “Where are they?”

“Downstairs.” Voldemort stood up from his seat, but Lucius held up his hands in a surrendering motion. “But, my lord, I must inform you. There have been a few incidences.”

“Incidences?”

“Yes, my lord.”

Lucius told Voldemort everything that the two wayward Death Eaters had been up to the past couple of weeks. Within seconds of Lucius explaining what happened, Voldemort stormed out of the study and headed towards the sitting room where the two soon to be very punished Death Eaters were.

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“Have you lost your mind?” Narcissa raged. “Have you completely lost your mind? Do you have any idea what you have done?”

“I don't need a lecture, Sissy,” Bella said, looking up at her sister pacing back and forth in front of her. “I did what I know our lord would want.” Bella's voice was filled with pride. She truly believed that she was doing what the Dark Lord wanted.

“He has ordered us to leave Potter alone,” Narcissa sighed, sitting across from her sister, falling in a matter that was uncharacteristic for her.

Lady Malfoy was exhausted. She didn't like all these...she couldn't even come up with a proper adjective for the lowlifes who were currently in her house.

“You disobeyed him.” Narcissa's voice no longer had the harshness as before.
“I did what I know he would have wanted.” Bellatrix, even though she was still feeling the remnants of the Curciatus curse she suffered from Aberforth, sat up in her seat with pride.

“He's going to be angry,” Narcissa sighed, shaking her head.

“He will want to praise me for my efforts. We have learned so much,” Bellatrix countered.

“And you of all people know that I do not give out praises often,” a voice said from the door.

Both Bellatrix and Narcissa turned and saw who was standing at the door. Narcissa sat back in her seat. For she knew by the look on the Dark Lord's face he was not pleased, and her addle brain sister was too obsessed to see that.

“My lord,” Bellatrix stood and walked over to the two men standing at the door. “You will be most pleased at what I found out.”

“And what have you found out?”

Bellatrix was a little shocked by the indifference in her master's voice, but continued on.

“I have been on the search for the Potter brat. I learned where he been hiding.”

“And where is he?” Voldemort drawled. “I don't see him here.”

“Uh, no, my lord. He wasn't at the house. But I was able to locate the Order's Headquarters and where Potter is staying. Much more than Snape has ever told you.”

“And what did you do when you found out this information?” Voldemort asked, walking into the sitting room. “Seeing as that Potter isn't here. Where are his relatives?” Voldemort sat down on the couch where Bellatrix was sitting earlier. “Surely since you were able to find where Potter's relatives were, you were able to bring them to me, so that I can handle them.”

Bellatrix gulped. Her feeling of being proud of what she had done were quickly dissipating.

Voldemort, increasingly getting tired of waiting for an answer, pulled out his want and pointed it at her.

“Bella,” his voice was strangely calm. “I will ask you one more time, where are Harry Potter's relatives? Since you've discovered where they live, surely you've brought them for me to deal with.”

Bellatrix fell to her knees and crawled towards the Dark Lord's feet.

“His relatives are dead, my lord,” Bellatrix grovelled at Voldemort's feet. “Forgive me, my lord, I only did what I thought you wanted.”

“And why would you think that I wanted Harry Potter's relatives dead?” Voldemort was clearly not swayed by Bellatrix's actions.

Bella looked up at her lord with shock and sadness in her eyes. Her mouth opening and closing, but nothing coming out.

“Live bait makes better traps then dead ones.” He kicked his leg out, moving Bellatrix off of him. “You disappoint me, Bellatrix.”

“But, my lord...,” Bellatrix sobbed.

“Enough,” cutting off her begging. “Now,” sitting back on the couch. “You will pay for what you've done.”

Voldemort lazily pointed his wand at the grovelling witch and cast the Cruciatus at her. Bella began withering from pain. With all her might, she tried to keep her screams inside. She knew that she deserved this punishment. She disappointed her lord.

Narcissa stood by, trying not to show her displeasure for what was happening to her sister, but she also knew that Bella couldn't take much more since she was recovering from the same curse when she arrived at the Manor.

“Please, have mercy, my lord,” Narcissa cried out, not being able to stand her sister being in pain much more. Voldemort looked up at Narcissa with disgust.

“How dare you?”

“Stop this,” Lucius whispered to his wife. “Forgive her, my lord,” he said towards Voldemort.

“Please, my lord,” Narcissa begged, getting away from her husband. “She's already been under the Cruciatus for a long period of time not a few hours ago. Please have mercy.”

Voldemort stopped the curse on Bella. He was now intrigued by this new information. With his arms on his knees, he leaned down and looked at the cringing witch on the floor.

“Who have you been working with, dear sweet Bella?”

Trying to gain back control of her body, Bella looked up at the Dark Lord with fear in her eyes.

“D-dumbledore,” she stuttered, tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. “A-aberforth Dumbledore.”

Voldemort did not expect to hear that name.

“Find Severus for me,” Voldemort said.

“Yes, my lord,” Lucius bowed and walked out of the sitting room.

“Take your sister out of here. I do not want to see her for the rest of the night.”

Narcissa bowed. “Yes, my lord.”

“Narcissa,” she looked up at Voldemort as she gripped her sister's arm. “This will be the one and only time I will grant you mercy. Do not ask me again, or you will receive the same fate.”

Narcissa blanched at his words, but could only nod at his words. As Narcissa helped her sister out of the room, Voldemort sat back an contemplated what this new information would bring.

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Hermione, after her lengthy goodbys from her parents, waited the last few seconds before the port-key became active. Looking at her parents one last time, she could feel the tug at the back of her navel and instantly she was gone with a quiet pop.

Seconds later, Hermione fell unceremoniously on the ground. When she stood up and looked around, she couldn't believe what she was seeing.

This couldn't be Headquarters, she thought. What happened?

Walking up towards what was left of the door, she looked inside. Everything was in shambles. The only thing that was still standing was the frame of the house. She couldn't help the feel of dread wash over her. Gathering up all her courage, she stepped over the threshold and walked inside. She had to see if anyone was inside.

Walking over the ruble, she couldn't keep the tears from flowing. She made her way inside one of the rooms and could see what were the remains of some furniture. Walking over towards it, she saw that even under the dust there was remnants of blood. Not having the strength to go on any further, she walked back outside. Sitting down on the only part of the steps that didn't have rubble on it, Hermione tried to calm herself down. She had to be logical about this. Something like this would be disastrous, but it would be known throughout the entire country if something happened. Knowing that she was not close to home, she decided that maybe she could stay with Harry or maybe find a way to get to Ron's.

Lifting up her head, she called out, “Hedwig.”

Within seconds a snowy white owl came flying towards her. A smile graced her lips when she laid eyes on the bird. Going through her little satchel, she pulled out a small bit of parchment and a quill. She quickly wrote her missive and tied it to Hedwig's leg. She watch the owl fly away.

Feeling a little better about things after seeing Hedwig, Hermione sat back and waited for a response.

A quiet pop pulled Hermione out of her thoughts she looked up and a smile graced her lips.

“Ms. Granger.”

“Hello, Professor.”

TBC

A/N: Thank you so much for everyone that has favored, followed and reviewed my story. Please leave a review and let me know what you think.

Many hugs and kisses to you all

Mandancie :)

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