"Wait!" Bellatrix shouted. "All except the mudblood" she spat out venomously. Hermione's chestnut eyes widened in fear as she gave beseeching looks to Harry and Ron as they were dragged forcefully out of the room by Lucius. Harry and Ron were screaming in fear and anger as they were well aware that Bellatrix planned to torture Hermione.
The screams and shouts of Harry and Ron disappeared as they were dragged further into the bowels of Malfoy manor. Bellatrix glared at Hermione and advanced upon her raising her thin wooden wand until it rested at the nape of Hermione's neck. Hermione whimpered in obvious fear. The corners of Bellatrix's lips lifted into a smirk as she delighted in the fear of her weakened opponents. Bellatrix leaned in close to Hermione, her breath tickling Hermione's ear.
"Now mudblood, we can do this the easy way or the hard way...where did you get that sword?" Bellatrix questioned.
"I don't know..." Hermione whispered tears beginning to slide down her face wetting her eyelashes and staining her cheeks.
With unerring skill and ease Bellatrix pushed Hermione forcefully to the floor and shouted "CRUCIO." Hermione's screams of pain broke the silence. Bellatrix watched with a smirk on her face as the mudblood screwed up her face in obvious pain. Hermione's limbs twitched uncontrollably. She clawed at her own skin drawing blood as her nails dug into her own skin ripping and scraping the flesh. The tears were coming more forcefully now and Hermione's sobs reverberated around the large room. After a few minutes Bellatrix ended the spell and spat disgustedly at Hermione's feet.
"Need I ask you again?" Bellatrix said softly. Hermione gave no answer but curled into the foetal position moaning in pain. "Where did you get the sword?" Bellatrix screamed at Hermione looking demented and deranged. Again, Hermione made no reply but made to stand up slowly by forcing herself onto her hands and knees. Bellatrix rushed over and grabbed Hermione by her hair pulling her into a standing position. Hermione yelled in pain as her hair got ripped from the roots and as Bellatrix's long nails dug into the sensitive flesh at her scalp.
"Please don't...please stop" Hermione begged in earnest feeling weak from the effects of the Cruciatus Curse.
Bellatrix cackled loudly and slapped Hermione across the face. The noise was deafening. "I don't obey filthy mudbloods."
The strength of Bellatrix's slap had forced Hermione backwards and a red handprint was already forming on Hermione's face. A few more lone tears fell from Hermione's eyes and she rubbed them away angrily with the edge of her sleeve.
Hermione did not have time to even compose herself as Bellatrix screamed "Dolvago!" Red boils bubbled on Hermione's skin and Hermione's eyes widened in horror as Bellatrix watched gleefully. The boils grew in size and Hermione cried out as stabs of pain overcome her body. Hermione fell to the floor once more as the Dark Magic took its effect. Each of the boils in turn began to burst ripping apart the skin on Hermione's face, arms and legs. Blood gushed from the deep wounds and Hermione began to feel weak with the sudden blood loss. Her robes were drenched in blood and dirt and her skin was also smeared with the fresh blood. "That's a little spell I invented," Bellatrix laughed. "It allows me to see how filthy the blood of those who are impure actually is." Hermione's eyes were wide with horror but the light in her chestnut eyes appeared to dim. Hermione began to realise that there would be no miracle. She would not be miraculously saved. Harry and Ron were locked up and surely guarded and no one else in the Order knew that they were here. They were alone. She was alone. She was going to die.
Hermione berated herself. She couldn't give up yet. Voldemort was still alive and until he was rotting in a grave she would fight on. With renewed strength and courage Hermione once again attempted to push herself up off the floor. With shaking limbs she stood slowly. The necklace around her neck slipped from beneath her robes and shone standing out from the bloody robes she wore.
Bellatrix looked at Hermione curiously with a feeling almost akin to respect. She had not expected Hermione to be able to stand ever again not to mention within minutes. "Foolish, foolish Mudblood" Bellatrix whispered her brown eyes gleaming as she shook her head. Bellatrix slowly raised her wand. Hermione stared down at the wand defiantly then looked coolly and calmly up at Bellatrix. "Bring it on" Hermione said looking spitefully at the demented and fierce witch before her. Bellatrix did not need to be told twice and the light erupted from her wand as she roared "CRUCIO". The aim of Bellatrix's curse was true hitting Hermione painfully in the stomach. Hermione collapsed to her knees as the horrific pain struck her once more. The light glittered on her necklace capturing Bellatrix gaze. The triumphant and sickening smirk immediately vanished and was replaced by a shocked and confused expression. Bellatrix instantly ended the curse and backed away from Hermione as Hermione collapsed panting to the floor.
Lucius Malfoy stepped out of the shadows from where he had been watching Hermione being tortured. "Bella? Bella?" What's going on? Why did you stop? We need that information!" Lucius' cold voice ruptured the silence and he appeared infuriated by Bellatrix's horrified expression. Hermione lay on the ground listening to the sounds around her no longer able to lift her head from the cold stone floor. Hermione could not understand what was going on. Why had Bellatrix ended the Cruciatus curse so quickly? Was it some sick cruel joke before she finally just killed Hermione?
Bellatrix could not believe it. It was impossible. No...It simply could not be. It was some sort of mistake. She had to make sure...she needed the truth. Bellatrix listened to Lucius' harsh words of question as she gazed at the almost unconscious body of the mudblood on the floor. Lucius took a step towards Bellatrix. Instantaneously her eyes snapped upon the figure of Lucius and before Lucius could even comprehend what was happening the red light of Bellatrix's powerful stunning spell had erupted from her wand and hit Lucius who went soaring into the air and landed sprawled out on the floor at the other side of the room unconscious. Narcissa and Draco let out shouts of protests and ran forward but reached the same end as Lucius as they could not compare with Bellatrix's speed and wrath. Bellatrix's eyes gazed around the room. She was finally alone with the Granger girl. She needed answers and she needed them now.
Hermione heard the bangs of the three Malfoys fall to the floor and her fear was paramount. This was it. This was the moment that the crazed Bellatrix killed her. Hermione could hear the slow footsteps of Bellatrix trudge towards her and was expecting further pain. However, the pain did not come. Bellatrix reached out slowly for Hermione's hand and grasped it gently. Bellatrix slowly turned her over so she could see Hermione's face. The expression on Hermione's face frightened Bellatrix for the first time in over eighteen years. Hermione looked so weak and vulnerable. So breakable and frightened.
"I'm going to apparate us to the Lestrange manor. Rodolphus is away so we will be alone. We can talk there." Bellatrix spoke gently without the previous venom in her voice. Hermione's eyes betrayed her fear and her eyes widened with the thoughts of the horrors that were yet to come. Bellatrix reached out slowly with her other hand and tucked a brown chestnut curl behind Hermione's ear. She then gently removed the trickle of blood at the corner of Hermione's lips with the sleeve of her robe.
Hermione felt bemused. She had never seen Bellatrix- the torturer of Frank and Alice Longbottom- act with such gentleness and compassion. Hermione could only stare at Bellatrix in confusion as Bellatrix disapparated leaving Malfoy Manor behind.
When Hermione opened her eyes again she felt queasy. The effects of the apparation made her feel sick and dizzy. Hermione slowly gazed around her and took in the magnificent sitting room Bellatrix had taken them to. Even in her weakened state Hermione could see the lavish furnishings that surrounded her that expressed an obvious wealth.
"Can you stand?" Bellatrix asked.
Bellatrix's voice had pulled Hermione back to reality. The only comfort Hermione could find was the fact that she knew death had to be near.
"No I don't think so" Hermione answered surprising herself with her own honesty.
Bellatrix nodded slowly then with relative ease scooped Hermione into her arms and carried her to the sofa in the centre of the room. Hermione was gobsmacked. She was expecting to be hit with the Cruciatus curse and instead Bellatrix Lestrange Voldemort's right- hand most faithful follower was lifting her gently to the sofa. Confusion no longer covered how Hermione felt.
Bellatrix laid Hermione gently as she could onto the seat yet the girl still let out a moan of pain and discomfort. Bellatrix reached for her wand and raised it. Hermione let out a piteous moan at the sight and began crying in earnest. Bellatrix ignored this as best she could and pointed over Hermione's head to the cupboard at the far side of the room. "Accio potions." Five or six small labelled bottles came flying towards her and Hermione let out a gasp of shock.
"I will heal your wounds now, and then we will talk. Lie back. This may hurt a bit." Bellatrix whispered. Bellatrix spread the lotion on the burst boils that she caused to appear not ten minutes earlier. Hermione cried out in pain as Bellatrix whispered comforting words trying to distract her from the pain.
"That potion will heal the cuts caused by the boils. There will be no scarring. I developed the potion myself." Bellatrix added as Hermione listened in disguised interest.
Bellatrix held a bottle to Hermione's lips and commanded, "Drink this!" Hermione clamped her lips shut not trusting the death eater in the slightest. It was more than likely Veritasserum or some form of poison. No matter what it wasn't good!
"It's a pain relieving potion I promise." Bellatrix sighed exasperatedly as Hermione clenched her teeth, her mouth remaining firmly shut. "Right," Bellatrix began, "Looks like I will have to convince you. You are good at potions Severus tells me?" Hermione nodded slowly unsure where this was going. "Well, you should be able to identify the liquid then." Bellatrix brought the potion to eye level allowing Hermione to peer in. "You should recognise the purple sheen of the liquid and the faint antiseptic smell. Yes?" Hermione nodded in acquiescence and allowed Bellatrix to raise the bottle to her lips and Hermione swallowed the liquid. The effects of the potion were instantaneous. Immediately, her facial features relaxed somewhat as the terrible pain disappeared.
Bellatrix lifted another potion from the table. "Blood Replenishing Potion. Appears red and is odourless." Hermione accepted this potion to. "Lastly, the muscle relaxant potion. It’s a muddy brown potion that appears to have substance thinner than air." Bellatrix finished.
"What's it for?" Hermione inquired softly, her thirst for knowledge replacing her fear.
"It has many uses I suppose." Bellatrix answered. "It can be used if a person has tense muscles, if a muscle has been stretched or in your case it's the perfect cure to heal the sore muscles you undoubtedly have after the Cruciatus curse."
After swallowing the third potion Hermione felt as good as new except for the continued queasiness and a slight dizziness.
"Now to business," Bellatrix began leaving the potions on the table behind her. Bellatrix reached out slowly and tenderly grasped the silver necklace around Hermione's neck. "Hermione, please answer honestly. I need to know...where and when did you get this necklace?"
Hermione did not miss the fact that Bellatrix had called her by her actual name instead of the usual derogatory slang such as 'filth' or 'mudblood.' Hermione looked down at the necklace in question and noticed that Bellatrix held the necklace very delicately between her thumb and finger as if the necklace was a precious stone or jewel. The necklace itself was silver. The charm was made of two concentric circles surrounded by a triangle and an interlocking cross shape. Hermione looked up into the eyes of Bellatrix and saw that they were no longer cruel and crazed but soft and pleading.
Hermione once again was amazed at her honesty as she began the story of where she got the necklace that she treasured. "I'm not sure what age I got the necklace itself. I must have only been about five years old. I remember clearly the day I received it though. It was my birthday. It was after my party had finished and my friends had all left. My parents called me into the living room and asked me to sit down. Mum presented me with a small box which I opened and this necklace was inside. I remember dad saying, 'Hermione sweetheart, you must promise your mum and I that you will never take this necklace off. It is imperative that you wear it always and through this necklace you will know that your Mum and Dad will love you always.' I promised mum and dad that I would never remove the necklace and I kept that promise. I have worn the necklace every day for over thirteen years. Ms Lestrange...What's going on? Why did you heal my wounds after you tortured me and why are you so interested in my necklace?" Hermione decided to be polite. She did not want to be tortured again.
Bellatrix had listened intently and her suspicions had heightened further. "I promise I will answer your questions but I have another to ask first. Hermione, when is your birthday?" Hermione gave Bellatrix an inquiring look at the unexpected question but again chose to answer honestly. "I don't understand why you need to know this but it's on September 19th."
Bellatrix gasped audibly and stood up quickly walking to the window at the far side of the room. Bellatrix's suspicions had been confirmed. She could not believe that this day had come. She had waited and waited over eighteen years for this day and it was finally here! Bellatrix gazed out of the window staring out over the magnificent courtyard yet seeing nothing. Bellatrix's heart thumped loudly in her chest and she felt soreness in her eyes. She felt confused when her eyesight suddenly became blurred and her cheeks damp and moist. Silently, Bellatrix raised her hand to her face and captured a lone tear drop. So this is what it felt like to cry! Bellatrix had not cried since she was a little girl as it was always deemed a weakness by her brutal father and cold hearted mother. Yet she was crying now. However, the tears were not with sadness but with happiness.
"Ms Lestrange?" Hermione asked quietly. Bellatrix made no sign that she heard the girl on the sofa and remained gazing out the window lost in her thoughts. After a few minutes of continued silence Bellatrix whipped around and walked over to the sofa and sat beside Hermione. She made no effort to conceal her tears from Hermione.
Hermione gasped in surprise when she saw the tear stained face of Bellatrix Lestrange. Bellatrix did not cry! She was evil, heartless and merciless! Yet here Hermione was sitting with the broken and weepy death eater. Slowly so as not to startle the older woman, Hermione reached out and placed a comforting hand on Bellatrix's shoulder which appeared to relax the woman. After a few minutes the tears subsided and Bellatrix was able to control her emotions once more.
Bellatrix turned in the seat to face Hermione. "I would like to tell you something Hermione...a snap shot of my life. Please do not judge but listen carefully." Hermione nodded in acquiescence and relaxed in the seat beside Bellatrix her fear of the woman next to her quickly disappearing.
"My life has been no means easy," Bellatrix began. "You cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be a child in a pureblood family. My father was a respected man in society. He appeared on the surface and in the eyes of the public, perfect; a rich and prosperous man, generous with his wealth, courageous, loving and most of all... the perfect husband and father. This persona in the public was a front. A mask to hide the truly awful man underneath who only revealed his true self in the comfort of the family home. My father terrorized my mother. He would beat her violently into submission in front of me, Cissy and Dromeda too. If my mother did not obey his orders...she would pay for it. Many times throughout my childhood I too was physically and mentally abused by my father. I was the eldest daughter so received the main beatings. Many times over the years, Cissy or Dromeda would displease my father. I always took the blame for their errors and was as a result punished." Bellatrix seemed entranced with her own story and her eyes appeared to see into the past as she visualised all that she had witnessed. "My sisters and I were brought up to detest muggles, berate mudbloods and to consider the only worthy ones to be the rich purebloods. Everyone else was scum. I was never allowed to cry. Even when my father performed the Crucitatus curse upon me in my childhood I was never allowed to shed a tear or show pain. 'Pain, Fear and Love are the greatest sins' he would always say.
Anyway, my childhood was remarkably unpleasant. I hated my life and my father. My mother remained a closed book and would be emotionally detached from her daughters. I was brought up to believe my father was never wrong and so I believed all his statements about blood status and how insignificant muggles were. When I was seventeen, I ran away. I had just passed my apparation test. I came home late one night and my father who had been drinking beat me to near death then left me unconscious in the library. A house elf found me and treated my wounds. The next day I packed, said goodbye to my sisters and left. I apparated to Australia. I just needed to get away...to know my father could not reach me. I built a life for myself. I got a job, bought a flat and made friends with some of the locals. I was there for a year when I met him… Corrin Hetcherson. He was half blood. He was dashingly handsome, friendly and accepting. So naturally, I fell in love with him instantly." Bellatrix's eyes bored into Hermione who was listening with rapt attention tears falling softly from her glistening eyes. "He was the one person who truly understood me…the one that I could tell everything too. He knew all my secrets, the things I had done yet he loved me still. A few months later, I found out I was pregnant." Hermione gasped audibly drawing a small smile from Bellatrix.
"I was so excited. Yes I was very young…only eighteen at the time yet I knew Corrin would stand by me and I had always wanted a daughter. I could not wait to tell Corrin. I met with a healer and she confirmed I was a month pregnant. I planned to tell Corrin over dinner the next night. I knew he would be happy and I felt no fear in telling him. I remember the night I told him so clearly. We had just finished the meal and I just shouted it out. His face split into a broad grin immediately and he jumped up to hug me." Bellatrix's face turned dark and she once again looked like the frightening death eater. "There was a loud bang. Corrin and I turned to look at the door which had been blasted open. It was my father. He had finally tracked me down. He looked demented with raw anger. My father raised his wand, pointed it at Corrin and screamed the killing curse at him. I remember watching in horror as the spell hit Corrin in his chest and how his warm and friendly blue eyes just dimmed and faded. Corrin was dead." Hermione was crying silently. She felt such sympathy for Bellatrix. She always just believed Bellatrix to be evil and never stopped to considered what had made her that way.
Bellatrix continued, "I was heartbroken. The only person I loved and trusted like no other was dead, killed by my own father. I hated him so much. I wasn't thinking. I was possessed with anger and an uncontrollable rage. I raised my own wand and for the first time ever cast the killing curse. I killed my own father. I watched with satisfaction as he fell to the ground and I was pleased. I burned his body and the next day I went to the funeral of Corrin. I was alone…so alone. I didn't know what to do. So…I went to the Dark Lord. I had given up on life. I had nothing else to live for. I became over the next seven months what everyone came to consider me as; heartless, cruel and merciless. No-one ever saw the truth, that I was just afraid, alone and so so angry! I concealed my pregnancy from the Dark Lord using glamour spells. I had to protect the child. Eight and a half months into my pregnancy, I went into labour. On my own, I apparated to a muggle hospital in London. There, I gave birth to my baby girl. I had a decision to make, so I offered her up for adoption. I had to protect her…from him and from myself. My daughter would grow up to be hated and repulsed. I would not condemn her to the life that I had. She would be free." Bellatrix was crying in earnest now remembering how broken she felt when she gave up her beautiful daughter. The pain was indescribable. It was all consuming and terrifying.
"I watched as they carried her away. I believed I would never see her again. I could never go looking for her. I knew she would be raised by muggles but I trusted muggles more than I trusted myself. The time came when Voldemort disappeared at the hands of Harry Potter and I was captured and sent to Azkaban. On the front, I acted outraged at Voldemort's demise, but inside I was glad. Azkaban was the punishment I needed and deserved. For the actions and the death I caused. I thought every day of my baby girl and the life I was missing. I always sung happy birthday to her each year when the day came around. No wonder the other inmates thought me crazy," Bellatrix chuckled softly. "Of course, two years ago, when Voldemort returned to my dismay, I had to return to his side or be killed. I continued to act as the faithful servant but I wanted out. I have always wanted out. I just needed something or someone to live and fight for.
I planned when the war was over to reunite with my daughter and confess everything. The time came sooner than I expected." Hermione looked quizzically at Bellatrix confused at her last words. Bellatrix decided to help the truth dawn on her…she only hoped Hermione would not be repulsed…she didn't believe she could cope with the pain that action would cause. "I found a way to ensure that if I met my daughter again, I would know it was her. I cast an old magic spell on an object that would cause her foster parents to give it to my daughter when the time was right. The object was a necklace." Hermione squeaked in shock. Hermione knew where Bellatrix was going with the story. Hermione berated herself for her stupidity. She should have seen this coming. Bellatrix's whole story was leading up to this moment. Bellatrix was watching Hermione carefully, waiting for a reaction. She could see the cogs in Hermione's brain racing away as she pondered on all that Bellatrix had said.
Finally, Hermione whispered, "How do you know for sure. Why should I believe you? These are dark times and I have learned the hard way to trust no-one. I want to believe you, but I need a reason to."
Bellatrix nodded seeing the maturity Hermione possessed at such a young age. There was wisdom and knowledge in the young girl's words. "The necklace had a twin." Bellatrix said calmly. Slowly, Bellatrix reached up with her hand and pulled at the chain around her own neck. She reached for the charm at the end of the chain and exposed it for Hermione to see. Hermione drew in a shaky breath of air when she saw the charm Bellatrix wore. It was the exact same as her own necklace.
"So it's true then? You speak the truth? You're my…mother?" Hermione said. Bellatrix only nodded in reply. "Oh my God! This is too much to take in!" Hermione continued. "My parents…I mean foster parents aren't really my parents at all. My real dad is dead and my real mum is a known and feared death eater? Why did they not tell me? They had eighteen years to sit down and tell me the truth," Hermione ranted. "Of course I always wondered where my magic came from. I don't look like either of parents…I mean foster parents which always confused the whole family." Hermione's voice was slowly becoming hysterical. "What are Ron and Harry going to say? They might hate me. I'll be shunned and hated. Voldemort will kill me. Ooh no! No. I'M RELATED TO MALFOY! That stinking ferret!" Bellatrix let out a laugh of amusement. After all she had learned tonight, what hit her hardest was that Hermione was related to her nephew. Laughing appeared to be the wrong thing to do as Hermione burst out into hysterical sobs and wails. Bellatrix was at loss. She did not know what to do. She had made her daughter cry…and it hurt Bellatrix too. Hermione had her face covered with her hands trying to muffle her sobs. Bellatrix shifted uneasily in the sofa beside Hermione. She reached out awkwardly and placed a comforting hand on Hermione's shoulder. Hermione immediately turned around and flung herself at the arms of the unsuspecting Bellatrix and sobbed uncontrollably into Bellatrix's neck. Bellatrix remained stiff and unsure. What was she to do? Bellatrix thought back to her own childhood…times when she was younger when she was crying…how she wished her father or mother would wrap her in their arms and comfort her. They never did. Slowly, Bellatrix relaxed and pulled Hermione into a hug rapping her arms around the young girl…her daughter. Bellatrix whispered soothing words into Hermione's ear comforting her like her own family couldn't or wouldn't. Mother and daughter remained in this position for several minutes until Hermione's sobs subsided and she embarrassedly pulled away.
"Sorry." Hermione whispered a blush filling her cheeks. "Not a problem," Bellatrix replied gently, "You could have attacked me I suppose." Hermione smiled in response.
"What now?" Hermione dared ask. "You kill me?" Bellatrix looked horrified at the thought. "No!" Bellatrix shouted causing Hermione to jump a little in shock. "No, I would never kill you or ever harm you. I am not my father!" Hermione only nodded in response hiding the relief she felt.
"You know…" Bellatrix began, "This will in no way make up for what I did, nor will it correct the wrong I have done, but I am sorry. You probably won't even believe me or trust me but I am so sorry for torturing you…what I did was unforgivable and cruel. If I had known who you were… if I had seen…I would never…" Bellatrix failed to find the words to express her sorrow and regret.
"I do." Hermione said firmly her gaze locking with Bellatrix. Bellatrix looked confused at Hermione's words so Hermione continued. "I believe you and I forgive you," she whispered. Tears of happiness filled Bellatrix's eyes. "Thank you," Bellatrix whispered in return, "You don't realise how much those words mean to me." Hermione smiled easily. "Now, back to the original question, what happens now?"
"Now, I do what I do best, memory charms!" Bellatrix grinned widely. The change was unbelievable. The smile on her face appeared to make her ten years younger, Hermione noticed. Bellatrix seemed almost carefree…and happy? "We must hurry though, the spells cast on my sister and her family will soon wear off and that must not happen. Let us return to Malfoy Manor."
Hermione offered her slender hand to Bellatrix who grabbed it softly. With a small pop they disappeared only to reappear seconds later at the Manor they had vacated about one hour earlier.
Bellatrix glided over to where Lucius Malfoy remained unconscious. As Hermione watched on, Bellatrix whipped out her wand and pointed it at Lucius and cast "Obliviate." Lucius' eyes rolled under his closed eyelids and his face took on a blank expression. "There," Bellatrix said," He will wake in a few hours remembering nothing." Bellatrix walked over and repeated the process with her nephew and sister. Bellatrix, when finished stepped back and admired her handiwork. "Millie" she shouted out and with a loud crack that startled Hermione a small house elf appeared.
"Madam Lestrange called" simpered the house elf sycophantically bowing low on his knobbly knees. "Millie, take the Malfoy's to their respective bedrooms and prepare them for bed," Bellatrix ordered not unkindly. "Yes, Madam," the House elf replied. Just as the house elf was about to disapparate with the Malfoy's in tow Bellatrix added, "Oh, and Millie, I order you to never inform anyone of the happenings here." The house elf bowed low again, grabbed the three Malfoys and was gone with a crack.
Bellatrix looked around the room in order to see what else must be done to remove any evidence of what had occurred. She spied Hermione's wand which had rolled under the sofa beside where she had tortured Hermione. With a quick "Accio" the wand was in Bellatrix's hand and she then presented it to Hermione who accepted it gratefully. Bellatrix then set to work modifying the snatchers memories and sending them away from the manor. Meanwhile, Hermione, with the use of numerous "Scourigfy's" managed to remove her own blood from the Persian rug and carpet. The carpet was now smoking slightly but remarkably clean.
When finished, both Bellatrix and Hermione headed for the dungeon. "Now Hermione, you need to get Potter and Weasley and go. Remember, they will resist once they see me, especially Potter after the whole Sirius escapade. I want you to know, I'm on your side now. I will remain with the Dark Lord of course, but I will aid the Light in the fight against the dark were possible." Hermione brightened at Bellatrix's words and nodded enthusiastically.
Bellatrix raced into the dungeon first keeping to the shadows and shot silent stunning spells at the guards and Wormtail before they even became aware of what had occurred. Immediately, Bellatrix set to the task of modifying memories remaining hidden from Hermione's friends. Harry and Ron shouted out exuberantly when they saw Hermione had entered. "Hermione!" Ron shouted, the worry and the relief evident in his voice, "You're okay! We heard the screams…she tortured you… that bitch! I'll kill her!" Ron shouted. "But…how did you escape?" Harry asked confused, "You didn't even have a wand!"
"It's okay guys, I'm fine. I had help." Hermione replied calmly whilst releasing Harry and Ron from the cell. Harry and Ron immediately ran to Hermione and enveloped her in a hug holding her tightly. Neither believed they would ever see their best friend alive again. "Wait," Harry said after releasing Hermione from the hug, "You had help? From who?" Harry replied completely baffled.
Bellatrix stepped out of the shadows. "From me," she said quietly. Harry and Ron whipped towards the voice that they both recognised with disgusted and angered faces. Hermione remained quite impassive, apparently unconcerned with the happenings around her. Simultaneously, Harry and Ron searched for their wands automatically hoping to curse the Death eater. However, as neither Harry nor Ron their wands, they gave up the fruitless search, eyed Bellatrix distastefully and turned to Hermione. "Explain!" was all Harry could say as he was unsure whether to trust Hermione.
"It's not what you think Harry!" Harry snorted and Ron scowled vehemently. "Look, we have no time for this, I will explain later until then, just trust me." Hermione pleaded. Harry gave Hermione a calculated look and nodded slowly. "Alright, I trust you with my life Hermione but I do not trust her," Harry said giving Bellatrix an evil glare. Bellatrix grinned good naturedly in response and replied, "You would be a fool to, Potter, but, it appears I no longer mean you or your friends any harm." Hermione smiled warmly at Bellatrix which did not remain unnoticed by Harry and Ron. Harry and Ron glanced at each other, both their faces displayed confusion.
"Right," Bellatrix began, "Now that the heart-felt reunion is over you need to get out of here. You have your wands, so apparate out now. I have obliviated the minds of the death eaters and snatchers who witnessed your capture so they will no longer remember the event. For heaven's sake, don't go getting caught again. I may not be able to save you once more." Bellatrix finished aiming the last part of her speech in Hermione's direction.
"Er…." Harry began. "Will You Know Who not find out? He'd kill you for letting us go!" Harry said awkwardly. He never believed he would be in this position, talking rationally to a death eater. Bellatrix laughed loudly and honestly. "I'm pretty good at magic you know! Not even the dark lord could break my memory spells if he tried. Perhaps…only Dumbledore could but we will never know. It’s fine Potter, the Dark Lord will remain in the dark about this mishap." Harry nodded still unsure.
Harry held out his hand to Ron and Hermione in order to side apparate away. Ron immediately clasped his hand eager to leave the dark and eerie dungeon. Hermione walked towards them slowly reaching for Harry's hand but paused before grabbing it. "What's wrong Hermione? You heard Lestrange. We need to get out of here!" Harry said fear beginning to creep in. "Yeah Hermione!" Ron urged, "Let's go!"
"Hold on one second," Hermione shouted before turning on her heels and sprinting over to Bellatrix who remained at the other side of the dungeon watching the scene avidly. Bellatrix had only a second to realise what was happening before Hermione had reached her and flung her arms around Bellatrix. Bellatrix could hear the surprised gasps of Potter and Weasley. Hermione hugged Bellatrix tightly. Leaning up, she whispered into Bellatrix's ear, "Goodbye…mum," whilst pressing an object firmly into Bellatrix's hand. The words were spoken softly so Harry and Ron could not hear them. Bellatrix smiled softly and whispered, "Goodbye." Without another word Hermione turned and sprinted back to Harry and Ron knowing she would have a lot of explaining to do. She grabbed for Harry's waiting hand and felt the compression of the apparation taking its effects. Hermione turned quickly to get a last glimpse of Bellatrix before the scene disappeared and she could see her no more.
Bellatrix watched as her daughter disappeared before her. Remembering the object Hermione had given her; she looked down and saw a glint of gold. It was a gold galleon. Bellatrix smirked knowing full well that this was no ordinary galleon. Draco had told Bellatrix all about the secret society 'Dumbledore's army' and their method of communication. The fact that Hermione had given her the galleon spoke volumes. It meant that she had her daughter's trust. Bellatrix would not betray her. Bellatrix had a sudden feel of anxiety and worry ripple through her; a feeling she had not felt in years. She prayed that the war would soon end and that her daughter would live. They could get to know each other, make up for lost time. Bellatrix finally had somebody worth fighting for and boy would she fight!
Five months later…
The terrible battle had arrived. After months of anticipation and apprehension, the final battle of the war had begun. Tonight, the fate of the future would be decided. The light versus the dark! Only one would triumph, but both sides would face losses and pain.
Bellatrix was avidly battling Mrs Weasley, protecting herself against the violent torrent of curses and spells that came from the angry red head's wand. Hermione was watching the battle carefully from the corner of her eye whilst fighting with equal determination against another unknown death eater. Hermione felt no fear for Mrs Weasley's life. It was obvious to Hermione that the spells used by Bellatrix were for protection only. Bellatrix did not aim to kill. She used only shielding spells and stunning spells not wanting to hurt her opponent. Mrs Weasley, however, appeared not to notice Bellatrix's resistance to using unforgivable curses and was battling with a fiery fury. Mrs Weasely, unlike Bellatrix fought to kill. Bellatrix was forced to leap out of the way as yet another green light was shot in her direction. Bellatrix needed to end this fight; she had to protect her daughter and could not continue to do so whilst being distracted by Mrs Weasely. Therefore, she quickly raised her wand and cast a stunning spell wordlessly. Mrs Weasley appeared unprepared for the silent spell and the red light hit her unprotected side causing her to slump unconscious to the ground.
Bellatrix turned round to find Hermione and soon picked her out. Her daughter was fighting a particularly vile death eater Dolohov. Bellatrix watched as Hermione sent her own stunning spell at the death eater which hit its mark causing Dolohov to topple over. Hermione, as if feeling her mother's gaze on her back, turned round and smiled secretly at Bellatrix. Hermione, with her back now to Dolohov, did not see Dolohov scrambling quickly to his feet and raise his wand pointing it at Hermione's back as he advanced towards Hermione. Bellatrix's eyes widened in horror knowing that Hermione would not be able to react in time. With lightning speed Bellatrix shot her own stunning spell carefully in the direction of Dolohov. Hermione's eyes widened in horror as she saw Bellatrix raise her wand and shoot the spell in her direction. Bellatrix was going to curse her? After everything? To her amazement the spell appeared to miss skimming over her shoulder. Hermione, heard a thump behind her and turned slowly to see Dolohov lying unconscious on the ground. He was much closer to her than when she stunned him just a minute before. Hermione quickly understood what had happened realising with relief that Bellatrix was not aiming the spell at Hermione at all. Hermione turned and grinned at Bellatrix. The look Hermione received was one that spoke volumes. It clearly said 'You need to be more careful. Always watch your back and expect the unexpected.' Hermione nodded slowly and ran off to fight another death eater.
The battle continued in its fierceness. The different coloured lights of the spells and curses cast from both sides lit up the dark skies at Hogwarts. The ground was littered with bodies; some death eaters, some Order members and some mere students who had bravely stayed to fight. Bellatrix was currently fighting Kingsley Shacklebolt and was dodging any spells and curses with relative ease. He was a good fighter, but she was simply better. Again, Bellatrix stunned her opponent and once again searched for Hermione. Bellatrix passed Potter who was fighting Lucius with a look of determination on his face. When Bellatrix spotted Hermione, fear stole at her heart. Hermione was less than twenty metres away and fighting the Dark Lord. Bellatrix knew Hermione would not stand a chance. Nobody but Dumbledore fought against Voldemort and survived. Yet, Hermione was fighting admirably. Bellatrix noticed that Hermione was quite skilled in duelling. Hermione was quick, nimble and accurate. Clearly Hermione had gained some of Bellatrix's own skill. Voldemort was staring at Hermione. Bellatrix knew that look well having served him for many years. He planned to finish this fight…to kill Hermione…her daughter to hurt and wound Potter. Before Hermione had a chance to react, Voldemort had cast a silent disarming spell. Hermione watched with fear in her eyes as her wand was ripped from her hand and went soaring into the air and out of reach landing beside the dead body of Colin Creevy. Voldemort sneered at Hermione who looked back at him determined to not show the fear that she felt. Hermione knew what was coming. She did not have a chance. Then again, against Voldemort, who did have a chance? Hermione calmly closed her eyes, waiting for the spell to be uttered bringing her ultimate death. She did not have to wait long as she heard Voldemort spit, "Avada Kedavra."
Bellatrix's heart was thudding uncomfortably in her chest. She knew the spell was coming before Voldemort had even uttered it. Bellatrix looked over at her beautiful daughter, eyes closed, bravely accepting her fate. But, Bellatrix could not and would not let her daughter die. "No!" Bellatrix screamed as the green light erupted from Voldemort's wand. Knowing she had only seconds, Bellatrix turned on the spot and disapparated appearing just in front of Hermione. Hermione felt warm arms surrounding her in a hug and her mother's voice in her ear, "I love you, my daughter, forgive me." Voldemort watched in horror and confusion. He had heard Bellatrix's scream. She now appeared in front of him before the mudblood friend of Potter's. She was hugging the mudblood? He watched as the green light enveloped his most faithful servant killing Bellatrix instantly.
Harry shot a stunning spell at Lucius who toppled over. Harry ran forward in time to see Voldemort's killing curse barely miss Hermione and hit Bellatrix. Voldemort was staring at the scene with utter confusion and a hint of…remorse? Harry did not need to think, this was his window of opportunity. Harry raised his wand and screamed for the first and last time, "Avada Kedavra."The spell hit Voldemort. Voldemort did not even see it coming. Voldemort was dead. The battle was over.
Hermione fell to the ground, the weight of Bellatrix heavy in her arms. The fight was over, so why wasn't she happy. "NO!" Hermione screamed out attracting the attention of all around her who had fell silent at the death of Voldemort. "NO! MUM! NO! PLEASE DON'T BE DEAD!" Hermione burst into hysterical sobs hugging the limp body of Bellatrix closer to her. The faces of those around her were shocked and stunned. Hermione, one of the 'Golden Trio' was crying over the death of the cruel death eater Bellatrix Lestrange?"
Hermione could not think straight. The pain of Bellatrix's death hurt her more than that of Dumbledore, of Tonks, of Lupin or even Fred. The battle was over…so why hadn't the pain ended too? Sobs racked Hermione's body. Tears dripped down her face as she continued to openly hug her mum. Bellatrix had saved her life, apparated right before Voldemort's killing curse in order to save her life. Bellatrix did not deserve to die. Hermione knew of Bellatrix's past but she had paid for her sins in Azkaban. Bellatrix had just turned good, feeding Hermione and thus the order vital information about the death eaters, unknown to Voldemort via the gold galleon. It was Bellatrix that had revealed the current location of the last two Horcruxes and thus had brought about the death of Voldemort. So, why did Bellatrix have to die? Mother and daughter together at last, only to be cruelly separated by death. Life was so unfair and cruel! Hermione felt a comforting hand on her shoulder. Hermione looked up. Through tear stained and blurry eyes she could see it was Harry. Hermione whispered, "Why?" Harry had never seen Hermione look so broken, so devastated. Hermione had returned her gaze to Bellatrix repeating the mantra of "Why?" brokenly over and over again. Harry stood silently by Hermione's side and Ron too made his way over. Together, they mourned the losses of the war, those who had fought bravely like Bellatrix and died like heroes. Harry would ensure that Bellatrix's sacrifice would not go forgotten. Without Bellatrix, Hermione would not be here. Tomorrow would bring a new day…but for now they simply mourned. Together.