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The Black Prophecy

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Hermione work up in the softest bed she’d ever been in. Snuggled in the depths of a fluffy duvet, she debated even bothering to get up. The last few days had been like living in a dream. Learning about her connection to Bellatrix was at once overwhelming and comforting. She longed for their physical interactions. It took hours for her body to settle down after the assertive passionate kiss she’d been left with. Craving closeness would be an adjustment. She practiced isolation and independence with fervency. No one had managed to penetrate the tall walls she built around herself, except the Black and Malfoy families. Part of her feared relying on them, because if she continued on this path losing them would be catastrophic. But laying cuddled up in one of their guest rooms, resistance seemed absurd. Being showered with the things she desired the most, she felt helpless to withstand their collective charm.

Forcing herself out of her warm cocoon, she dressed to go down to the library to continue research, or just indulge in the space if no one was up yet. She walked quietly through the corridors leading to the library. Her footfalls echoed throughout the house, coercing her that she would be alone. Slowly she tugged open the heavy door to her favorite room just enough to slip in. She paused just inside at the sounds of a male voice that didn’t belong to Draco. From across the room she heard Narcissa’s gentle voice drift towards her,

“Hermione, please come. Join us for breakfast.”

Hermione did as she was told, shaking her head at her urge to automatically comply with the request of the youngest Black sister. It seemed that she could deny neither sister anything they asked. When she reached the table in front of the massive windows on the far side of the room, a tall blonde man stood to take her hand.

“Miss MacCarthy, I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“Mister Malfoy, thank you for your hospitality. It’s an honor to meet you.”

“Enough with the formalities, Lucius. She is still learning our culture,” Narcissa said with a great deal of pride in her voice at how well the girl did. Turning to Hermione she continued, “ Sit, join us. Don’t be put off by my darling husband. He only wants to impress you.”

Lucius playfully frowned, but quickly caught the young witch’s eye and winked. He snapped his fingers summoning an elf to bring her breakfast. To Hermione’s surprise there was never a moment of awkward conversation throughout the meal. Draco clearly got his charms from his mother and his sense of humor from his father.

After nearly an hour of getting to know the Malfoys, Lucius regretfully excused himself to go attend to the Dark Lord’s business. The two witches moved back to the table in the center of the stacks. Hermione picked up the piece of parchment on its surface to re-read the list of priorities in the beautiful script of the dark witch. Narcissa walked behind her to read over her shoulder and gently slipped the parchment from her hands.

“Her handwriting has always been beautiful, but must you admire every single thing about my sister?”

Though it was clear from the tone of voice that Narcissa was teasing her, she felt her entire body tense in panic.

“Please, don’t tell me you can hear my thoughts too,” she whispered nervously.

“Not at the moment, though I am rather skilled at legilimency. You seem to naturally guard your mind, which will be useful going forward.”

“Good. I really don’t need more than one of you in my head.”

Narcissa laughed, “Yes, I suppose it would get a bit crowded. Perhaps that is where we should start. Your connection with my Bella could be imperative with what is coming. We need to understand how you two can access it with intention and what the constraints are.” She walked to a section of the library and pulled down several books, handing them to Hermione and pointing her back to the worktable. Narcissa slipped quietly out of the library, promising to see Hermione at lunch.


 

Just before noon Bellatrix swept into the library, stalking toward Hermione as if she were prey. Placing the book down on the table in front of her, the young witch moved to turn around, but was thwarted by a mass of black skirts moving to perch on the high surface. She leaned back to be able to look at the beautiful face she’d been looking forward to seeing all morning.

“Did you miss me, little one?”

“You know I did.”

“Mmm good. You won’t have the opportunity to miss me this afternoon. Then again you may wish you did,” Bellatrix said with a good deal of enthusiasm. Taking in Hermione’s look of confusion with satisfaction she continued, “It’s time you and my nephew learned how to use your wands for something more useful than housework. There are plenty less talented who can see to such things.”

Hermione started to argue that all of those skills held value, but was stopped by the finality in the elder witch’s voice.

“I promise you will learn all of those things too, just not today. After all, you can’t learn it all at once.”

“I could try,” Hermione replied cheekily.


 

Lunch was a quiet affair. Draco was tremendously late, which caused Bellatrix to spend 15 minutes listing the things she would do to the boy if he missed her first lesson. As the threats escalated, Narcissa laughed knowing her sister would never dare. Bellatrix had executed each of those threats at one time or another, but she knew she would end up flat on her ass if she tried to harm Narcissa’s only son. Though Narcissa rarely exercised the full extent of her powers, never even taking the dark mark, she was no less skilled than her sister at the dark arts. She hid behind the image of a proper pureblooded housewife. It made her far more dangerous than most would expect.

At the very last minute, Draco jogged into the room dropping his quidditch bag to stand along Hermione’s side.

“I hope you have your wand, Draco.”

“I do, Aunt Bella. And I wasn’t late,” he said triumphantly. “I do know better. I grew up with the stories of what you would do to your sisters for being late.”

“And that was before I had my full power,” she replied easily, throwing a threatening smirk over her shoulder at the two young purebloods trailing behind her.

Once the three entered their practice room, she turned to address her two pupils. She glossed over the general etiquette needed for a formal duel, but moved quickly toward the action. Rules were boring and with her Lord’s plans, it would be unlikely that bowing appropriately to an opponent would be very high on anyone’s list. Bellatrix began with teaching them to effectively disarm one another. After only a few minutes both of her students mastered the skill, a testament to the power of their heritage in her mind. Hoping to make the afternoon a little more entertaining, at least for herself, she went over the basics of protego and stupefy, allowing each of them to try to use them against her. When satisfied with their progress she said,

“Well done my dears, come we are going to the gardens.”

“Wait. That’s it? We’re done,” Hermione said with more edge in her voice than she’d intended.

Freezing at the tone used with her, she rounded, walking until she’d backed Hermione up against a wall. Draco wisely ducked out of the doorway to wait for them.

“Something you would like to say to me,” Bellatrix growled.

“Not exactly,” Hermione answered sweetly, slipping her arms around Bellatrix’s neck. “I think I like you like this,” she whispered into her ear before pressing a firm kiss on the irresistible red lips.

“You are mischievous.”

“And I still don’t even remotely dislike you for that lesson. I’m a little disappointed.”

“Fortunately for you, it isn’t over yet,” Bellatrix said with an air of finality as she led the young witch from the room. “I will have you exhausted and begging me to let you stop.”

Watching the two revel in their closeness, Draco couldn’t resist teasing a little, “Enjoying snogging my aunt, ‘Mione?”

The older witch twitched in an attempt to respond, but Hermione held her back answering for them both,

“I think there are few who wouldn’t. But understand I am going to have to destroy you during our outdoor practice session for that little comment.”

“I look forward to watching you try. Nice mind reading by the way. It really doesn’t get less creepy even I know what’s going on. Did you find anything this morning that will help you control it?”

“I think I might have, but we will have to experiment a bit.”

Interrupting the playful conversation between friends, Bellatrix guided the two outside to explain the rules. She would serve as referee to prevent any serious damage to come from the two. They would have free reign of the garden, provided they would repair any damage they made. And they would duel until one or the other verbally yielded. The two moved to opposite sides of the garden to begin. Draco moved with a trained cadence. He wasn’t a novice. Narcissa clearly had spent some time ensuring that her son would be able to care for himself in her absence. His moves were measured and calculated. He was looking for weaknesses.

Hermione was a different story. She looked more like a wild animal. What she lacked in experience she was determined to make up in physicality. She found that her ability to produce spells was a beat slower than Draco’s, so she used her surroundings to buy her time and to take some of the spells thrown her direction. The less protecting of her person she had to do, the faster she could throw her own offense together. With her pride on the line in front of a woman she was desperate to impress she held nothing back.

After more than an hour of non-stop competition both of were drenched in sweat and haggard. Draco had a cut running down the length of his arm, which was caked with dried blood and a little dirt. Hermione moved tenderly trying not to put too much weight on her left ankle or let on that she was hurting. As the two prepared themselves for yet another volley of spells, Narcissa walked out into the garden.

“Draco! Hermione! Stop this instant.”

The two froze in motion with their wands pointed toward each other to look at the shouting blonde like naughty children. Pitching up his voice to imitate a much younger boy Draco replied,

“It’s not my fault, Auntie Bella made me do it.” Hermione burst into giggles at the silliness of her friend.

“I suppose that can be enough for today,” the eldest witch responded, walking with intention towards Hermione. Gripping the young girl under the arm, she assisted her in walking up the stairs to the seating area that overlooked the garden.

“I can take it from here, Bella,” Narcissa said, moving her sister out of the way. “Just try to relax, Hermione. I am a trained healer, but repairing this sprain will be much easier if you don’t tense your muscles.” Muttering spells under her breath, she commanded the muscles to knit themselves together and tighten back to the joints. “It will be tender for a few hours, but by tomorrow you should be comfortable again. Now both of you, upstairs and bathe. You won’t be eating in such a state.”

The two tired teens walked up the stairs together congratulating the other on the fun they had throughout the afternoon.


 

After bathing and eating dinner, Hermione and Bellatrix returned to sit in front of the fire in the library to read. Within an hour, Hermione managed to move herself into the dark witch’s arms, leaning comfortably against her and enjoying the possessive arm draped around her shoulders.

“Bellatrix, I have a favor. There’s something I think I need to do, but I really don’t want to go alone.”

“I will help with whatever you request, but you must stop using my full name. I feel like I am getting scolded,” she replied. “Call me Bella, I like it better.”

“Please Bella.”

“Mmm you know I love the way that sounds, but what is it that you are asking me so nicely for?”

“I need to go to Timoleague Castle in County Cork. It’s the seat of the MacCarthy family and there are records I would like access to.”

“Not to mention your curiosity of where you have come from is finally getting to you.”

“Yes, that as well. You all are so secure in your identity as a family and everything I know about my heritage I learned in a book from your sister. I want to know more. I need to know who I am,” Hermione said with the stress shining through in her voice.

“Of course I will go with you. It will all be ok, my dear. It’s time you checked in on your property.”

“Thank you,” the young girl whispered, leaning further into the solid comfort of the form wrapped around her. Relaxing into the security of the embrace she allowed herself to fall asleep, not waking as Bella moved her upstairs and into bed. She missed the gentle kiss to her lips, the whisper of adoration and the promise that she would never again have to be alone before the door clicked shut and the older witch walked quietly back to her own room.