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The Black Prophecy

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Hermione watched the painful transformation and tried to sort out her thoughts. This was destined to simply be the shittiest week on record. Not that she had time to dwell on it. If she wanted answers from the witch she was going to have to get them quickly. She had no doubt that the cavalry would be arriving soon. Her terror had no doubt alerted Bella.

"If you have more to say, Andromeda, I would suggest talking now."

"Then the family prophecy is true. She can feel you, can't she?"

Hermione regarded the woman in front of her. She did look very much like Bella even without the polyjuice. Thankfully she had her own voice. "We are not going to talk about me. So you might as well give up on that," she said dismissively.

"But don't you see that you've changed everything. The Blacks can come out of the shadows."

"Is that where you have been hiding?"

"No. My history with our family is more complicated than that. I made a very foolish decision when I was a teenager. I thought I understood the world. So I rebelled and lost everything that was familiar. At first, it was wonderful. The freedom was exhilarating and I thought that I found real love. And maybe it was for a time, but Ted wasn't the man I loved. I tried to convince myself that I was happy. That a normal life was what I wanted."

"If that’s true, then why did you stay away?" Hermione knew that her two Black sisters could be a handful when upset.

"I burned too many bridges. The Dark Lord was gone. Bella was in Azkaban. I have betrayed them."

"Why now, Andromeda?"

"Because, if I stayed I would die without ever being able to tell my sisters that I love them and that I am sorry. Even if I don't survive today, at least I will have that." Tears were running freely down her face.

"And an attempt on me was your best plan?"

"I've been looking for a way to get close to one of you. And the Order was foolish enough to think that this little plan would work. They know nothing of the ancient magic they are trying to subvert."

"And you haven’t told them? Not even your husband?"

"He is dead, but our relationship was over before he died. It was a secret from most, but the love was long over between us. And I never stopped being a Black. Some secrets are not to be shared."

 

"Did you think an attempt on me would raise you in Bella's eyes?" Hermione hissed. The thought alone of anyone trying to take what was clearly her wife's, made her blood boil.

 

Andromeda laughed darkly, so like her older sister. "No, Hermione. I never expected to get that far. I suspected that you would not be fooled for long, but I would have stopped before it got serious. I am the one Black sister who doesn’t particularly crave a feminine touch.”

 

The young witch breathed a sigh of relief. It was oddly comforting that the other woman’s actions were not entirely about her. Having a bit of focus on someone else was entirely welcome. While she didn’t mind the celebrity that came along with being Bellatrix’s wife, when they were apart it was a constant reminder of what she was missing.

 

“I suppose you will also want to know what my best case scenario is,” Andromeda continued haughtily.

 

Hermione could not help rolling her eyes. Even after decades away from her family, the bound woman in front of her was no doubt a Black. “Only if you wish me to be able to plead your case. Whoever comes to check on me is unlikely to be overly friendly.”

 

“I want my life back. I know it will take a great deal to earn back trust, particularly Bella’s. But I am willing to put in the effort and deal with whatever restrictions are required.” She swept her dark eyes over the figure of the young girl searching her face for any traces that she was believed.

 

“Alright,” Hermione said after a long pause. She began pacing trying to imagine how she would manage an irate Bella and/or Narcissa.

 

The snap of elf apparition made her freeze in her tracks and tense. Before she could turn to face whomever came to her rescue a strong feminine arm circled her waist and pulled her close. Blonde hair fell over her shoulder and a wand pointed directly at the bound woman.

 

“Andy?” Narcissa hissed icily. She didn’t loosen her hold on Hermione. She was comforted by the young woman’s arm laid gently over her own. The woman wasn’t trembling in her arms which was a good sign. And now that she had reoriented after the transportation by her elf, Narcissa noted that her wayward sister was securely tied to a chair.

 

Hermione slowly slid her arm down Narcissa’s wand arm caressing gently as she moved it down. “We are safe, Cissy. She is secured beyond being able to move and under the influence of veritaserum.”  She turned to face the blonde, knowing the older woman would still be able to watch her sister. Hermione leaned up and placed a placating kiss at the corner of Narcissa’s mouth.

 

“What happened that caused you to panic? It looks like you have the situation rather in hand. Bella flew off the handle. She practically fell over you were so afraid. Lucius nearly had to resort to violence to convince her not to storm the castle.”

 

“I’m so sorry, Cissy. She was polyjuiced to look like Bella and she made a halfhearted attempt to seduce me.”

 

Predictably Narcissa raised her arm and started to advance on her sister. “How dare you, Andromeda,” she growled.

 

“Cissy, darling. Wait.” Hermione lunged after her. “It isn’t so simple. What she attempted was unwise, but hear her out. She may be the extra advantage we are looking for. She is a member of the Order. Imagine the information we could gain.” She eyed Andromeda as she spoke, hoping the woman would stay silent if she disagreed with her statements. The young woman knew the Black sisters well enough to understand that they were not emotionally ready to welcome their long lost sister home with open arms. But she hoped that the woman’s betrayal of the Order and the sabotaging of their effort to steal Hermione might buy them enough time that the sisters would be open to her return.

 

“Is that right?” Chilling blue eyes refocused on Hermione. “Well, I am certain it is not for me to decide. Can you bind her upright? I am not sure how the castle would react to furniture being removed even by elf magic. And you are coming with us. Bella will have my head if she does not get to lay eyes on you herself.”

 

“Of course, Cissy.” With a casual flick of her hand, Andromeda was propelled up without ever being unbound. “I don’t need to bring anything with me, do I?”

 

“Your wand might be helpful. You know full well that your wife is less likely that I am to be coerced with a snuggle and a kiss.” The blue eyes flashed in warning.

 

“So long as you are clear that it was not disingenuous in any way. I miss my real life constantly,” Hermione lowered her voice so that only the blonde could hear her.

 

“I know you do, little witch. In a few short months you will be home for good. The road won’t be easy, but we will all walk it together.”

 

Hermione willed her eyes not to mist at the sweet words as she stepped into the blonde’s arms.

 

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Andromeda said dramatically. “Must we waste time on such sentimentality? I risked my bloody life just to see you and Bella again, Narcissa. Can we please get on with it?”

 

Hermione barely suppressed the urge to throttle the witch. She had been very gently moving Narcissa towards being open to hearing what her sister had to say, and the commentary was not helpful.

 

“Well, I must say I am glad to know that Hermione’s potion making hasn’t slipped. I will deal with you, sister, when I see fit. And not a moment sooner. But I hope you do remember Bellatrix’s tendency to hex first and ask questions later. If you value your life at all, I would suggest keeping your mouth shut,” Narcissa said sharply.

 

Andromeda looked at her feet, seemingly thoroughly chastised.

 

“And you, Hermione. I expect you to do what you can to calm down the situation with your wife. I know you have both been distressed the last few weeks. You should not be seeing her tonight, but you should not waste this opportunity. Am I understood?”

 

“Yes. Of course, Cissy.”

 

“Good, little witch.” She ran her hand affectionately down Hermione’s face. "Come take my arm.”

 

As Hermione moved to her side, the house elf walked between the bound Andromeda and Narcissa. Without warning, they were apparated into the library of Malfoy Manor. A firm push to the middle of her back by the blonde sent her tumbling into her wife’s waiting arms.

 

The dark witch happily gathered the young woman protectively into her. She inhaled the scent of her deeply while accessing the danger of the situation. When she found none, she leaned down and captured Hermione’s lips in a possessive kiss. The young woman happily reciprocated, sinking fully into the embrace. When they broke apart, she quietly moaned Bella’s name. The dark witch took a long moment to look at the beautiful woman in front of her. Seeing her in the flesh was exactly what she needed, regardless of the reason that had brought them together.

 

“If you could spare a moment, Bella, I believe we have something to deal with,” Narcissa prodded.

 

“Very well, Cissy,” the dark witch said acting as though she was very much put upon to comply. She turned from Hermione, but slipped her arm around her waist keeping her close. “Our prodigal sister has returned. By the lack of drawn wands, it must be an interesting story. No,” she continued before she could be interrupted, “I did not miss that she is bound. And then there is the matter of how I felt earlier. So who would like to begin?”

 

“Your wife fed me veritaserum, so I suppose I would be the most forthcoming,” Andromeda said with obvious nerves.

 

“What makes you think I want to hear anything you have to say, bloodtraitor?” Bellatrix growled at her sister with more venom than Hermione had heard in her voice for a while.

 

“I had feared I would not even make it far enough to speak. I have no doubt that Hermione could have easily killed me. The rumors are clearly true that she is one of the Dark Lord’s favorites,” the witch spoke softly.

 

“You do not get to speak of either of them,” Bellatrix roared advancing intimidatingly towards her middle sister. “Speak swifty, sister. My wand is feeling a bit jumpy tonight.”

 

Andromeda visibly bristled. Hermione had no doubt that the woman had faced her lover when she was angry before. Idly the young witch wondered how violent and cruel Bellatrix had been as a teenager. Or how often the Black sisters fought when they were children.

 

“I masqueraded as you at the behest of the Order. They had hoped they could send someone as you to impregnate your wife and woo her away afterwards. I convinced them that I would be the most logical choice. After all, who among them would know you better?”

 

Bellatrix sighed. She had feared that the Order might try something against her wife. This was particularly invasive and she could not wait to inflict extreme violence on the lot of them. She nodded mutely at Andromeda to continue.

 

“I wasn’t foolish enough to think I could succeed, but I convinced them it was possible. It's common knowledge that I know the ancient fertility rites better than others in the Order. I knew it would possibly be my only chance to find my way back to my family. In capturing me, I hoped you might give me a chance. Walking up to the front door likely would not have gone well. And after all, I could not allow anyone else to even touch a Black without permission,” Andromeda continued quickly not daring to look up. “I’m done with pretending to be someone I’m not. No matter how far I ran, I was always a Black. The same blood runs through my veins. I never belonged in that world. And I was never accepted. It took me far too long to come home, but better to die here than continue to live that way.”

 

Bellatrix stared mouth agape at the honesty. She had never known her sister to readily admit fault or act humbly. Neither were things that were taught in the Black household. She found that she didn’t properly know how to react to the statement. Her pause allowed Lucius to sweep in.

 

“Well Andromeda, that is quite the tale. I have no doubt that our Lord would like to hear it. You are intent on regaining his favor, I gather?” The blonde wizard was all charm, clearly hoping to de-escalate the emotional situation

 

Dark eyes rose from the floor to meet his. “I will do anything I must to rejoin my family. Our Lord may have any knowledge I possess and use it to his advantage. I just want a chance.”

 

“All I can promise is that I will call him. You know as well as I do that his reaction will be his own.”

 

Andromeda nodded solemnly. She knew the wizard’s moods well. She used to know them better than most, but of course that was ancient history now. She would be lucky if he didn’t torture her to death.

 

Lucius flicked his wand, binding only her wrists so she could follow him through the house. As they walked out of the room, Narcissa stepped closely to Hermione and Bella.

“Take the evening with your wife,” the blonde said to her older sister. “Lucius and I will see to this other situation. I will be back before dawn to return you to Hogwarts, Hermione. I will have a pepper-up in hand.”

 

“Thank you,” Hermione said in relief. She could not bear to be taken from Bella so soon. The blonde nodded and turned to follow her husband.

 

“I don’t…” Bellatrix started quietly stumbling over the words. “Tell our Lord I do not wish her to die. If she is telling the truth, I want our sister back.”

 

“Me too, Bella. Only time will tell. Try not to get your hopes up,” Narcissa said voice full of affection for the warrior in front of her. “Enjoy your wife. Let me take care of this.”

 

The head of dark curls nodded as the blonde turned to leave. Hermione saw her opening and pressed more fully against her lover’s curves.

 

“Take me to bed, Bellatrix,” she whispered and captured an earlobe between her teeth. “I’ve missed you and I would like to show you exactly how much.”