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The Serpents and their Cub

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After so many years it was finally over. The Light side had won the war against Voldemort… Tom Riddle was dead. The ‘Golden Trio’ were the heroes of the story, three teenagers having won a war. It was a bittersweet victory for most, the death that surrounded all of these children and the ruin their school lay in was not something any individual would forget. Kingsley Shacklebolt was made interim Minister of Magic during the recuperation period, though everyone knew he would officially get the position when the situation had calmed. Him, all the Aurors he had left and members of the Order returned to the Ministry to capture any remaining Death Eaters on the premises and reclaim it for the Light, whilst others remained to help with the wounded, round up the dead and start the long road to recovery.

Hermione Granger, the brains of the trio, was slowly unravelling. Adrenaline and fear for her life had been all that kept her going from the moment Fleur and Bill’s wedding had been crashed and begun their mission. Now it was all over? She was given opportunity to sit and think about the fact her parents were lost somewhere in Australia with no knowledge of her, the fact she had been physically tortured and marked with the slur she had put up with since her second year and all of the loss they had all suffered because one man wasn’t loved as a child. The young woman was hurt and angry that all of these adults had let children fight a war for them, let the sacrifice so much of their innocence for what? How much was really going to change now that the Light side had won? Before she could rile herself up any further, Kingsley had returned and immediately following a shimmering tabby cat patronus made its way into the Great Hall, requesting the presence of all surviving members of the Order and the Golden Trio to the Head’s office in the unmistakable Scottish lilt of Minerva McGonnagal. The group swiftly made their way through the castle, stepping over rubble that would need to be removed and quickly arrived to find the Headmistress standing outside of her door on the winding staircase, frustratingly trying to crack into her own office that had been warded against her. Molly and Arthur Weasley along with Kingsley quickly rushed up the stairs, followed by the rest of the group, Hermione hovering at the bottom of the stairs intrigued but not willing to push past anyone.

Following a number of attempts of different people all with different spells the group became more frustrated at not being able to access the office, beginning to worry about what may be waiting for them within the office. Hermione had been wondering why none of the adults had thought to try Arithmancy considering the pattern that appeared before them whenever a spell hit the door, but didn’t care to interrupt, as despite her now known reputation she had been shushed by Molly when she began a question. The young woman watched as even Harry and Ron attempted spells on the door continuously being repelled when a voice rang out from before them all seemingly coming from the door itself, questioning why when they have the smartest witch of her age they relegate her to the furthest from the wall when she is the one the puzzle has been made for.

When all present turn and stare at the bushy haired brunette whose mouth was gaping at what the voice had said Molly urged her up the stairs, an encouraging hand squeezing her shoulder from Andromeda Tonks as she makes her way to stand before the door. Up close she smiles quite lazily, it wasn’t an obvious fix, but anyone that knew of her love of Arithmancy and problems would know it would be almost as easy as breathing for the young witch, and it was. The door was soon unlocked, though still warded as the only individuals allowed admittance to the room were Mcgonnagal and Hermione before the door slammed. The two witches gasped at the sight before them, the supposed dead Severus Snape very pale and bleeding being cared for by Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange with the portrait of Albus Dumbledore advising the two women how to heal and help the dying man. Before the two arrivals could do anything, Dumbledore demanded they enter the pensieve before they jump to any conclusions about the two women. Hermione stared terrified at Bellatrix, as she moves to enter the pensieve, not trusting Bellatrix at all but having a semblance of trust for the killed headmaster, especially if he trusted the two.

Hermione and Minerva entered the memories, seeing some from both Dumbledore and the sisters’ perspectives of how they have been spies for the Order since before Bellatrix had even left school, from the very beginning of Tom Riddle wanting her to be part of his misguided movement. Memories that began then, all the way through to recently, shocking the young Gryffindor with the fact that she hadn’t been tortured, the memories had been implanted in her mind and the would on her arm had been dark magic, but she had not been carved into. When the two re-entered the office, Snape had been stabilised and tears were steadily falling from brown eyes as she stares at the scar on her arm, unable to discern the fact her memories are fake.

Bellatrix slowly approached the girl, hoping not to scare her as Narcissa suggests it may be pertinent that the Headmistress leave the office and explain to the rest of the Order, especially Kingsley and take the pensieve with her, while Bellatrix and herself would remove the memory charms of the little lioness and heal her arm. Minerva was especially unsure about leaving the young woman alone with the women and Severus, who had also been redeemed through the memories they had seen, but upon assurances from her favourite cub she went about beginning the likely long road to the three being trusted by the light. Wand in her right hand, Hermione allowed her left to be taken by a scared looking Bellatrix who cast some spells whilst explaining what each of them were reversing in terms of the scar marring her skin, until all that was left on her arm was a small white infinity symbol, that the dark witch told her was to remind herself that she is infinitely strong and a brilliant young witch. It was then turn for her younger sister to move infront of the sweet young girl they had made think they had tortured her, to heal her memories and prove that they had not actually hurt her as she remembers the two women promising she would understand in time if they lived, why they had to make her think such things about the two women. When the sisters had finished healing Hermione’s body and her mind a sob escaped the young woman, and she stood before the two “Thank you for healing me, and for not actually hurting me. I am sure you will understand that this is understandably quite difficult.” She attempts to keep her composure before excusing herself from the room, finding the group still on the stairs arguing about the fate of the sisters and Snape even after seeing the memories. Hermione stands straight with as much decorum as she can muster in that moment “The memories are true, they healed my arm and restored the memories they hid. Neither of them hurt me or anyone,” she turns to each of them “Bellatrix told Dumbledore she would be able to restore Neville’s parents when the war was finally over. If she does that I am sure there would be no cause to suspect them of lying. I am exhausted and this has been a long afternoon. Excuse me.” She mumbles the end of her sentence and quickly disappears from the corridor, ignoring how Kingsley agrees and slowly others begin to as well simply wanting to rest and forget about all that has happened the last year.

And that she did. For the following two weeks Hermione ignored all those around her, hiding around the castle fixing any places she came upon and staying away from any others. Frank and Alice Longbottom had been healed and reunited with their elated son, who even hugged Bellatrix the next time he saw the woman in the castle surprising everyone. If he could forgive the woman everyone had been sure ruined his parents lives, surely they all could? The three sisters Black reunited themselves, in a blaze of anger and tears that nobody was willing to interrupt. The castle was well on its way to being back to its original glory, and Hermione was starting to heal herself.

One evening she decided to stop with her hiding, and rejoined everyone for their meal in the Great Hall. None in attendance mentioned her very obvious absence, having understood the young woman needed time to adjust and fully comprehend the events of the last year. They all fell happily in conversation, catching Hermione up with what she missed, or atleast what Winky hadn’t told her whenever her food was delivered. Harry and Ron proudly exclaiming they would begin Auror training come September, Kingsley offering her the same opportunity. With one hopeful look from Hermione and nod from McGonnagal the young woman had declined, simply wanting to finish her schooling and gain whatever grades she would on her own merit, not because of her status as war heroine, no one was surprised by the decision of the renowned bookworm all just happy she had returned to their company. It was surreal for the young woman, to be sat at a table with Bellatrix Black, even after her memories had reflected the fact she had done nothing to actually hurt her, nightmares still plagued her mind whenever she had tried to sleep. She struggled to discern the real woman who had fought and risked her life for the light, from the dark terrifying woman in her nightmares. Worse still she couldn’t seperate her from the sultry, flirty woman she often dreamed about - whom along with her two sisters would ravish her. Those dreams were part of the reason she stayed away, she knew after their kiss that herself and Ron were not a true match but she never would have imagined herself as gay let alone wanting three sisters all old enough to be her mother.

Thus when she suddenly jolted and stood from her seat when Narcissa rested a hand on her shoulder after attempting to get her attention numerous times due to her staring, the blonde shrank back thinking the woman was still scared. A hasty apology and excuse later, Hermione was practically running out of the castle needing alcohol and needing a bit of time away from the three sisters she couldnt stop thinking about. Apparating away from Hogsmeade to muggle London the brunette was eternally grateful she had learned to drive and had muggle ID as she makes her way into a pub to drink her confusion, arousal and fear away.

Numerous drinks and hours later, a familiar brunette settled into the seat next to the one the very nearly drunk Gryffindor occupied “Gave us all a fright there Hermione, Narcissa was beside herself thinking you were terrified of her until Bella and I eventually calmed her.” The middle Black sister had yet to glance her way, only doing so when she herself had a glass of whiskey in front of her, eyes roaming the young woman to ensure there was nothing outwardly wrong.

A small hiccup escaped the rosy lips of the younger woman “I’m sorry Mrs To.. Andy. I was lost in thought and when Narcissa grabbed my shoulder it shocked me. It was nothing to do with her… just what I was thinking.” The blush rising up the neck and cheeks of the Gryffindor definitely intrigued the older woman, even after she frowned when Hermione tried to call her Mrs Tonks.

“Ted was killed Hermione, Narcissa’s horrible ex husband found him and killed him before the final battle…” she shakes her head as her companion opens her mouth to speak “It’s okay, we only stayed together because I left all I had known when I thought I loved him. Don’t get me wrong I love that he gave me Dora, but I stopped being in love with him a long time ago. I am a Black once again, Bella accepted being the Head of the House and reinstated me.” The smile on the woman’s face calms Hermione, happy that her friend was happy and with her sisters once more. Andy notices how the young woman is fading fast because of the alcohol and chuckles to herself “I was sent to try and find you by my sisters, they would have come but I am the most level headed and thought it would be best for me to take you back to prove you are okay. I think we must be heading back now, they will be waiting and you my little lion are not used to alcohol.” She chuckles lowly at the look she is given, but is pleased when the young woman stands and allows her to lead them out and apparate them back to Hogwarts. The wards had been placed around the castle but those involved in the clean up were currently allowed to apparate onto and off the grounds until the term would begin, so they were able to appear just outside the front doors.

A little groan escapes the lips of the Golden Girl when the doors open and the other two Black sisters are pacing the entrance hall obviously waiting for the pair. She quickly quietens at the glare she receives from Narcissa, causing her sisters to chuckle. “Where did she go? Is she drunk?!” The blonde woman demands glaring at her older sister as she takes a hold of the Gryffindors other arm, pulling her towards the dungeons “You can sleep in the Slytherin rooms tonight, to ensure you do not kill yourself with your own sick.” The blonde chides, though Hermione smiles and leans into her.

“I am sorry Narcissa, I didn’t leave because of you. You shocked me from some interesting thoughts and I had to get away from the castle.” The brunette blushes once more as they are led to the Slytherin common area by Bellatrix “I’m not scared of you, well I am, but not mortally scared…” the brunette leads off with a confused frown as Bellatrix barks out a loud laugh.

“Don’t you worry little witch… we know what you mean. Even though she is the youngest sister she scares me and Andy and always has.” The previously thought crazy witch winks at Hermione before they enter the common area. Hermione looks around in surprise, not sure what she was expecting but quite liking the decor of the warm common room. The three sisters look around the room and frown, before Narcissa quickly brandishes her wand and transfigures one of the couches in the room into a bed large enough for the four women and more, knowing they will all want to stay with the young witch to ensure she is safe throughout the night. She then transfigured each of their clothes into appropriate nightwear, Bella a black nightgown that covers her thighs, Andromeda plaid trousers and a matching short sleeve top and herself a nightgown longer than Bella’s but not touching the ground.

When the sisters spot Hermione going to wave her wave Narcissa grabs her hand with a small wince “Careful little one, you have had quite a bit of alcohol, I am not sure it is wise you transfiguring your own clothes, may change into anything.” The brunette blushes but nods, looking down after the blonde waves her wand once again, Hermione is in similar clothing to Andromeda but hers are shorts instead of trousers. The brunette knows she should be apprehensive at least at the thought of climbing into bed with the three women, but a combination of the dreams she has been having, the alcohol and her need for sleep lead her to crawl into the bed and immediately snuggle into the first person that joins her, who happens to be a smirking Narcissa looking proudly at her sisters as her arms wrap around the younger woman. The three sisters know they will need to talk to Hermione, they know a lot more than she does about the connection they all share given they all know their family prophecy, but they are all happy to just curl up and enjoy the presence of their soulmate for the night and move on to more difficult topics in the future, because they have all the time in the world now the war is over and they are accepted by the people that matter to them and to Hermione. The hardest part would likely be winning the heart of the little witch in their bed. Little did they all know, they each already hold a small part of it, and they were each occupying her head in the most pleasurable of ways at the exact moment before they fell asleep.