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The Black Prophecy

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After such a pleasant interlude, Bella had been remiss to disentangle herself from the beautiful witches. However, she had not entirely contained the Death Eaters on the grounds and if Narcissa found out she would be furious. And so dutifully she dressed and went back to her task of setting the growing army straight. After actually applying herself, creating structure for and giving direction to the Death Eaters took less time than she anticipated. Word of the potential of her new powers after bonding clearly spread. Even the most fierce of her peers treated her with extreme deference.

Having completed her task, she stalked back to the Manor. She hoped that Hermione had cemented the repairs of her relationship with the youngest Black sister. It was time for her wife to live into the expectations of her new last name. She had little doubt that she could have handled the situation and her sister without interference, but a bigger part of her wanted to witness. As in all things about her lover, Bella found herself craving. Through their innate connection she had anticipated what would be transpiring and simply could not keep herself away. And perhaps the girl did still have a bit to learn, particularly when it came to dominating Narcissa.

Even having borne witness to the resolution of the conflict, she was pleased to enter the house and hear no shouting, smell smoke or other evidence of the physical violence and conflict the witches drifted towards over the course of the last few weeks. As she walked into the library and was met with the scent of her wife’s magic. With curiosity she approached the back of the room and the couch facing away from the door. The two witches were huddled together, pouring over an ancient magic book and debating a translation. Her heart melted at the sight. The chaos of the last few months made moments like the one she was witnessing impossible. Watching the two people she loved the most in the world engaged in intense intellectual debate filled her up in ways she never thought possible. She was still considering whether to interrupt when she heard a familiar voice.

“Are you going to join us or just stare,” her wife asked playfully.

“Hadn’t decided. Have I gotten so terrible at sneaking into rooms?”

“I heard your thoughts not your body,” Hermione responded sweetly.

“I heard your body,” Narcissa interjected.

“You’ve always had unreasonable hearing. Am I correct in presuming that the two of you have found peace?”

Hermione looked differentially to the blonde still unsure of where she stood.

“We’ve come to an understanding,” her sister replied.

“And you found her understanding satisfactory?”

“Quite,” the blonde answered, taking the young witch’s hand soothingly.

With dramatic flair, Bella sandwiched herself between the women pressing a kiss to each of their cheeks.

“How did it go back in the garden?”

“It's been managed. They won’t step out of line. And if they do, I will be there to put them back where they belong. Did you actually manage to plan for the week before you became otherwise occupied?” Both witches on either side of her playfully hit her shoulder.

“We planned two weeks. Thank you for asking,” Narcissa replied.

“Wonderful. I spoke briefly with our Lord. After dinner he would like to us to gather to discuss plans for the upcoming year.”

“How many is he requesting?”

“The Blacks, Malfoys, and Severus.”

“Bella, is this the new inner circle?”

“He didn’t say as much, but I believe that it may be.”

Narcissa exhaled deeply. “Well that's quite a change.”

“I know you don’t want us to be the center of this war, baby sister, but I don’t know that there is any way to get us out of it. We are too well known, especially now. We have to stand together. We are going to be prepared, I promise,” the dark witch implored. Abruptly she got up and sat on the other side of the blonde.

Hermione could now see that the blonde was crying into her wife’s curls. She embraced her from behind. She was so fond of her new family and genuinely hated seeing the deep scars from the first war.

“I can’t stand to lose everything again. We have so much more at stake, Bella. Hermione and Draco. I don’t want them to suffer as we did.”

“This is our best chance at making sure that won’t happen. The last 15 years, that hasn’t been any way to live. Even outside of Azkaban.”

“I’ll keep him safe, Cissa. There will be no second failure,” the young witch whispered.

“Oh my sweet Hermione. And he would no doubt say the same about you. You have have to keep each other safe.”

“And I won’t be keeping my distance either, my love. There is nothing that will keep me from seeing you, my darling wife.”

“We will all make it through this together,” Hermione replied, holding the blonde tighter. Narcissa chuckled darkly,

“You know I should be comforting you, not the other way around.”

“Ah, Cissa. Don’t sell us so short. We are hardly an average family.”

“See baby sister, we will be just fine. Our family is stronger than ever before.”


 

The mass mealtime was interesting to say the very least. The Death Eaters staying at the Manor were primarily from the best and wealthiest wizarding families, but they were a surprisingly diverse and eclectic group. Like the Blacks, there were strong governing traditions about behavior. Each bloodline developed their own unique method of maintaining closeness within the clan. This naturally made dinnertime interactions interesting. Bella had broken up two fights and had to draw her wand once over a cultural misunderstanding, as egos were as big as their traditions were complex. By the end of the meal and drink, the dark witch had the group laughing and generally in good spirits. Over the years she developed a particular talent for rallying the troops. The men respected her because she was fierce, cruel and rarely flustered in battle. Her magical and intellectual abilities were rivals only by her Lord, and now Hermione. Even the group that had not traditionally been supporters of Bella or the Black family were intimidated by how she was seemingly untouched by Azkaban and the rumors of the increase in her power.

When the ranks thinned, the Dark Lord signaled to the host family that their evening meeting was beginning. Bella smiled brightly when her wife came into view, chatting animatedly with her potions professor. It was clear that the two were forming a close familial bond. It came about organically as they shared a dark sense of humor and general disdain for the rest of the world. It was a positive revelation both for the two and the cause. Hermione was brilliant, but young and brash. Though Bella countered her in many ways, it wasn’t possible for her to be at Hogwarts. It was her sincere hope that Severus would provide emotional support in her place. He had been lonely for too many years. It was unlikely he would ever love again after Lily Potter, but it didn’t make him incapable of non-romantic emotions.

“Thank you all for being here this evening. It is so nice to have all of our little family back together under one roof.” The Dark Lord paused to look around the room. He hadn’t felt emotion for many years, as this was one of the sacrifices he made for immortality. But he imagined that if he could, he would feel warmth and pride at the scene surrounding him. The people, his people, were genuinely happy in ways they hadn’t been for many years. “Please everyone, sit. We have much to discuss for the upcoming year.”

He watched fondly as they all found their way into chairs and couches in front of the fireplace. He selected the large throne like chair and Severus sat dutifully at his right arm. On the couch across from him the Malfoy family settled in with Draco in the center. Narcissa fussed with the young man’s evening jacket, straightening out creases, ever the archetypal mother. Draco looked embarrassedly at his father as if imploring him to make it stop. The older blonde simply winked, doing nothing to stop it. Bellatrix and Hermione sunk into a love seat. The young witch seemed to debate sitting on her wife’s lap, but at the last minute remembered who was in the room and sat next to her instead, looking a bit sheepish. The dark witch chuckled and pet the girl sympathetically. It was still going to take time to get used to his lieutenant acting like a love struck teenager, not that he didn’t like it. It was refreshing. All eyes were once again on him and he resumed his speech,

“There are certain changes that we will need to enact over the next few weeks to ensure we meet some longer term goals. Our focus over the next few months is to attack on two fronts. We will continue our historical tactics.” As if on queue Bella and Lucius smirked. They’d always been overly fond of causing mayhem.

“We will restart the violence in the non-magical communities. Our goal will be to make the Ministry and Order nervous and to lull them into the comfortable notion that we will be only using old tactics. Bella and Lucius, you will be my leaders on the ground. I would like a list of targets and a timeline by the end of the week. Narcissa, as always your role will be keeping up the troops and being our primary healer. Severus will help you build up stores of potions before he returns to Hogwarts.”

The adult heads all bobbed in response and understanding. He didn’t pause for questions in part because he knew that there wouldn’t be any.

“Our second and perhaps more critical approach will be executed within the walls of the castle. Hermione and Draco, you will take steps to destabilize the Order. Once done we will strike the final blow and end Dumbledore's reign. With him out of the way, our victory will be much simpler. To this end, Draco, I will require your allegiance. You will take my mark after completing a raid with your father.”

“It would be my honor, my Lord.”

Voldemort chuckled, “So it is, my boy. I do not usually bring such young wizards into my ranks, but this is a rather unique situation. Your father will describe what is required of you for the ceremony.” The blonde teenager glowed with pride and accomplishment. “And finally, Hermione. As discussed, there is no need for you to take my mark as you are tied to Bella. You will accompany the Death Eaters on the same raid as Draco. Additionally there are some skills I want you to develop before returning. They should help you in finding a way to get my Death Eaters into Hogwarts without detection by the Order, which will allow us to end Dumbledore.”

As expected, the announcements were met with excitement. He watched with pleasure as the small group began brainstorming. Their dynamic as a group could not be more perfect. As always Bellatrix’s creativity shone and was balanced by Lucius’ sense of practicality. Hermione drew out the usually quiet potions master, prodding him for information and promises to teach her advanced magic. Draco grinned at his friend, and listened, enraptured, to his father and aunt plan. Narcissa sat quietly resigned. It was clear from the look on her face that she was mentally preparing herself for the battle wounds and risks. The blonde witch would always be their worrier. When she looked up, he caught her eye and nodded slightly. She smiled at the recognition. He had no reason to doubt her loyalty. She would also never abandon Bellatrix, but it didn’t abate her fears. He would have to instruct his top Death Eater, and perhaps also her wife, to bolster the blonde over the next few weeks.