Actions

Work Header

The Serpents and their Cub

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Hermione awoke slowly the next morning, the first thing she realised being that she felt like someone had hit her repeatedly over the head with something hard and that she had eaten mouthfuls of disgusting tasting sand. After a few moments trying to control the pain in her head, she realised there were two sets of arms around her and legs tangled up with her own. Her lithe body stiffened trying to remember the events of the evening, remembering running from the castle because Narcissa had touched her when she had been reminiscing a dream she had been touched in very different ways by the woman. She remembered the amount of alcohol she had consumed in an effort to not think about the way she had begun feeling about the three completely unattainable sisters, and then one of the said sisters finding her because they had all been worried. The warmth in her chest broadens at the fact she was brought back to the castle and cared for by the three women she had started to develop a deep crush on, and the fact that they were surrounding her in a bed caused a deep flush to erupt on her chest and face. Slowly opening her brown eyes hoping her headache would not get any worse at the light the young woman looks around herself, Narcissa in front of her with arms wrapped around her waist one hand very close to gripping her bum, Bellatrix behind Narcissa with one of Hermione’s hands in her own resting on the blonde’s hips and Andromeda… resting behind her with her own arms around her, one of her hands happily cupping one of the young woman’s firm breasts; all three women still sound asleep.

The young brunette tries to figure out the easiest way to escape their arms, needing to brush her teeth and make herself at least relatively decent feeling self conscious around the three beautiful women. She slowly slips her hand out of Bellatrix’s freezing when she whines out and grips her sister's hip missing her hand but does not wake up. She decides to start with Narcissa’s arms and hands, slowly trying to loosen them, gasping softly when her hand grips the firm muscle of her bum in protest of letting go. Hermione closes her eyes and tries to think but, with one hand on her bum and another on her breast, thinking is for one of the first times in her life not something that is coming easily. She does hear however the beginnings of one of her companions waking, so keeps her eyes closed and rests as though she is still asleep, hearing Bellatrix waking up.

The oldest bed mate slowly wakes, marvelling at the best sleep she has had in a very long time, opening her eyes to her youngest sisters blonde hair she remembers the night before. Sitting up on the large bed and looking over the small form of Cissy she smirks seeing her sisters groping the young sleeping girl, wishing she was able to sleep closer and get her own handful of their pretty little soul mate, but she knew she would. Now however, was time for Bella to have a bit of fun with her sisters. Having no idea that Hermione was infact awake Bellatrix runs her hand up Narcissa’s arm to wake her, chuckling when her hand squeezes the bum in her hand “Wakey wakey Cissa, I’m sure you want to see what is in your hand” the dark witch coos into her sisters ear still smirking as blue eyes flutter open in annoyance, before they slam open seeing Hermione asleep in front of her and her hand grabbing the firm buttocks of the Gryffindor.

The blonde jumps back on the bed as if she had been burned releasing Hermione quickly, the jolt of the bed causing a frown to mar the ‘sleeping’ girls face and their other sister to finally wake up. Much like her younger sister, Andromeda grips what is in her hand as she wakes up, and the whimper that escapes Hermione’s lips at the feeling of her breast being kneaded shocks Bellatrix and Narcissa and causes Andy’s eyes to open in surprise, her hand still on the woman’s breast under her top. Bella smirks “Having fun Andy?” she asks with a salacious wink before pouting slightly “I didn’t get to touch” she continues pouting as her sisters roll their eyes. All heads snap to Hermione when she whines at the sudden loss of warmth her eyes open as she frowns.

The three women soften as they move closer to the frowning young woman “Cold. Head hurts.” She mumbles then curls up still tired, and despite having wanted to escape to use the toilet now that the three sisters have gotten up she feels much worse than she did before. Bellatrix sits next to the Gryffindor and pulls her body close while Narcissa summons a hangover potion with a soft look in her eyes watching her sister with their little mate.

Cissy takes a seat on the other side of Hermione and runs a hand through her hair “Take this little one, it will make you feel better I promise.” She softly hums into her ear handing the potion to the young woman “I assume you have never really drunk?” She smiles as the brunette quickly downs the potion, almost immediately brightening and shakes her head.

“And I never will again if I feel like that after.” She huffs with a pout all three sisters find adorable “Why did you all get up?” The pout on her lips deepens, wondering if they will tell the truth about how they had touched her in their sleep.

Bellatrix smirks “I woke up and Cissy and Andy were definitely enjoying whatever dreams they were having, Cissy had a hold of your bum and Andy had one of those lovely breasts in her hand.” Bella leers at Hermione’s chest still smirking as her sisters screech her name and slap her arms. Hermione once again blushes at the obvious leer and Bella’s words as the older woman defends herself “Am I lying? I see no reason in not telling her the truth, from the noise…” Her words are immediately cut off with a quick wave of the only blonde’s wand, a blush on her own pale cheeks.

“Yes well, enough of that Bella” She huffs trying to control the situation “Hermione we do need to talk to you, but we should all probably dress in actual clothes.” She sniffs at the thought of having a serious conversation in their pyjamas “I think we should clean up and come back in five minutes?” Blue eyes meet brown and Hermione nods with a smile happy to brush her teeth and clean up a bit, slightly worried about what it is they need to talk about, as the four women split apart and head to bathrooms within the common area to change their clothes and wash up as much as they can.

The four women returned after a few minutes, Hermione smiling at the fact the outfits the three women had chosen reflect them very well, Narcissa in elegant baby blue robes, Bellatrix in her trusty black corset and skirts and Andromeda in black trousers and a blouse. Hermione was just in blue jeans and a red jumper. Hermione sat down on one of the couches and the three sisters sat opposite her, causing the youngest woman to gulp “Feels like some sort of interview, or that I'm being told off.” She giggles softly to dissipate the tension that had gathered since they all sat down. The three sisters smile at her and Andromeda sits forward slightly.

She smiles softly as her eyes meet Hermione’s “I suppose I best start from the very beginning… When we were children our father was not around much, and our mother was cruel. We would be beaten or punished for simply not standing up straight, but she would never do it when father was around. See our family has a prophecy, and he was sure that it would be about us. We had heard about it growing up of course, but it wasn't explained to us until we were all older; Cissy was 11, I was 15 and Bella was 19. I cannot remember the exact wording, we will have to find the old book, but it essentially says that three Black sisters will be born, and the family's name shall be restored with their union to a muggleborn. We were the first three sisters born to the black family since the prophecy had been made in the early 18th century.” The three older women watch the younger woman’s reaction hoping she doesn’t leave.

Hermione tilts her head “So it’s obviously the three of you considering you’re the first three. And I’m assuming we are having this conversation because you are telling me about it?” She asks softly nodding when the three women nod themselves at her question. “So essentially, there has been a prophecy for over 200 years that says that we are all fated to be together… ” She rests her head in her hands thinking it makes sense now why she has been feeling the way she has, she is destined to be with the three sisters so it is good that they are supposed to be together because she also likes them. “Well I can see why it is a serious conversation.” Hermione looks at the three women sat in front of her, all three of them looking quite worried that the young woman is going to outright reject them. “Why do you think it is me though? And if you thought this was about you, why would you all get married and stuff?” She asks suddenly self conscious once again with the eyes of the three beautiful women on her and suddenly not sure she believes them.

Narcissa sits up straighter prepared to answer that question “Like Andy said darling, our mother was horrible. She was not a Black and she cared not for the prophecy, she was adamant that her daughters would not be fated to a muggleborn. Bella was adamant she would not get married and aligning with Tom Riddle was one of the ways she attempted to get out of it, Andy was supposed to marry Rodulphus, but when she ran away with Ted Bella was practically sold to the Lestrange’s to stop an all out war between our families.” Narcissa tears up slightly at the memory of Bella screaming at her parents and her being taken away “I was promised to Lucius and we were forced to forget about the prophecy. Andy tried to say it was Ted but that wore off after a while. None of us could forget about it, that's why Bella and I aligned with the Order, so we could make a world we could marry a muggle born without prejudice. We had given up hope for so long, that the war would end, that we would find the one destined to save us. Until you were brought to the manor that it.” Narcissa trails off thinking about when Hermione was brought to Malfoy Manor, the immediate connection she felt to the young witch, knowing Bella had felt the exact same from one look between them.

Hermione frowned at the idea of the mother of the three women treating her children so badly, about how the three women she really liked were treated growing up. “I really hate the idea of your mum” she huffs out angrily not seeing the smiles on the sisters faces “But I am glad that you are all here, and we are able to have this conversation. I am a bit unsure about the thought, because I don’t think the three of you would be destined to be with me… but that is something to think about another time.” She smiles at the three women sat across from her sweetly. “I also feel I need to think about this, because despite how I have started to feel about you all, it is still kind of scary that I am prophesied to be with the three of you. The Black sisters. And I’m also really hungry, so wanna go get breakfast… I just want to make sure you all know that I’m not running away from this, its just a lot to take in especially when I’m starving.” She grins at the three women before they all nod in agreement, and the four of them decide to make their way to the Great Hall for breakfast with everyone else that is helping the finishing touches of fixing the castle.

Chapter Text

As the four women made their way from the dungeons up to the Great Hall they were in a comfortable silence, the sisters continuously looking at Hermione as she was obviously thinking over everything that they had been talking about, considering her new future should she want to accept that it is the truth. Yes the brunette was thinking about everything she had learnt, but not in the way they were worrying about, Hermione was actually quite excited because it meant she wasn’t just infatuated with the women with feelings that would never be returned. She could have a relationship with them. Once again ripped from thoughts of the three women by Narcissa’s hand on her shoulder, this time because they had just entered the Hall and the young woman had just stood still with a smile on her lips. For what felt like the hundredth time the Gryffindor blushed because of the three sisters, and quickly sat down with Dora and Teddy, grinning when the small boy immediately threw himself into his favourite woman’s lap, babbling away to her changing his hair colour every few seconds with a cheeky smile on his lips. The young woman knew her friends were giving her confused looks regarding her running off last night, but she also knows they wouldn’t ask, especially not with the Black sisters present at least. It doesn’t stop the looks however, and Hermione knew she was in for a questioning, so wanted to enjoy her breakfast and play with Teddy before she was cornered.

A quick glance to the side affirmed that she was indeed being looked at by her friends, but the eyes she felt on her that caused heat throughout her body were the two dark sets and one set of ice blue. Before they had gone on the run she didn’t have the acute awareness that she does now, and right now Hermione was wishing she could go back, because knowing the dark seductive trio are watching her just made the Gryffindor all the more aware of every movement she makes. Luckily the brunette was able to distract herself with the happy little boy on her lap and eating her breakfast, so she didn’t need to think about the sisters.

A short while later, people started to break off independently or in small groups to go and do some more works in different parts of the castle, all with the hope it would soon be restored and they would be able to grieve their lost ones. With a little tickle and kiss to Teddy’s head she handed the little boy back to his mother and excused herself to one of her favourite places in all the world - the Hogwarts library. Luckily nothing had been destroyed during the battle, the rumblings and explosions throughout the castle had caused bookshelves to fall and books were strewn all over the room. This was Hermione’s fourth day working to restore the library, the two weeks she had been hiding away she had spent between here and figuring if she could heal the Room of Requirement. She had started with the restricted section, worried if any potentially dark tomes had been released and able to cause havoc within the room; luckily nothing had and it was a relatively quick fix even if the young brunette deemed it necessary to hand check every book before it was placed back to ensure they were all in good condition. Someone must have placed enchantments on the books because they were all in immaculate condition despite the fact they had been thrown around the room quite harshly by the fighting. It still took the Golden Girl three days to completely clean up the restricted section, so today was the beginning of fixing up the rest of the library. Any other time the young woman knew she would have taken advantage of being in the restricted section alone, free to roam books she had not been able to during her first 6 years in the castle but she knew she would have to return in her ‘8th’ year even if she needed to sneak in.

Nobody else had been around the library any day the Gryffindor had been, and the fact the state hadn’t changed she knew she was the only one that was fixing it up. That was before the conversation she had had with her assumed soulmates. Narcissa Black had decided she would join her young witch in the library, as the two were similar in their shared love of the Hogwarts library and the blonde wanted to see how much she had done in the library and to offer her help and company. The blonde made her way inside the library, frowning at the state of disrepair the room was in whilst looking around trying to find Hermione amongst the knocked over shelves and piles of books. A delighted smirk lit up the features of the older woman when her icy blue eyes fell onto the slightly hunched figure of the brunette “Need a hand darling?” She practically purrs, her smirk deepening when she spots the younger woman jump as she spins around with a small blush on her cheeks.

“Hi?” Hermione squeaks softly, surprised that she had been joined, especially that it had been the blonde sister that had followed her, not expecting her to want to follow her to the library. Narcissa knew of her reputation as the ice queen of pureblood society, the facade her mother had wanted her to present after Andromeda leaving and during her marriage to Lucius. The only places she felt she could be herself were libraries or with her sisters, and now it would seem with the little witch that was surprisingly becoming one of her only safe havens in the world.

“Did you think you were the only one that found comfort within the library walls darling?” The blonde queries with a distinguished eyebrow raised, smirk still present on those alluring lips. “I am very aware of how I am seen by all of wizarding society Hermione, but I have never felt more at peace than in a library, specifically this one. I never had to be the pureblood princess, the aristocratic Black sister. Surrounded by these books I have been able to simply be Narcissa.” A fond smile curls around the red lips as a hand delicately runs over one of the standing shelves before her eyes meet Hermione’s, noting the surprise and adoration in those hazel eyes.

Hermione grins at the blonde, delighted that someone finally understands the allure of the calm of the library, she never had to worry about Voldemort as she drank in knowledge in all subjects and lost herself in worlds completely different from the dangers of her own. “Then I suppose we have invested interests in restoring the library to how it was before. I have already completely restored the restricted section and so we just need to focus on the main area, which as you can see does need quite a fair bit of work.” The brunette shifts into business mode to the amusement of her companion as the pair survey the damage to the areas around them “I am glad you came to help Narcissa, otherwise I am sure it would have taken me a much longer time to completely tidy up and fix anything broken…” The bright smile on the younger woman's face assuring the blonde that she had indeed made the best decision to come and offer her help while her sisters helped to restore other parts of the castle they all love.

The two women then settled into a comfortable silence as they each worked to restore different sections of the library, neither needing to talk but glad that they were not alone as they worked. The Gryffindor was not working as quickly as she had previous days, continuously becoming distracted by the mesmerizing Slytherin at work, wasting potentially vital minutes of work by staring in awe at the woman. She understood in those moments why she may be fated to the three sisters, all so different but with the same hypnotic allure calling for all of her attention whenever each of them were present.

Narcissa was of course always aware of the moments that magic stopped from across the room and hazel eyes were appraising her every movement. Did that mean she accentuated her movements for the attention of the younger woman? No it didn’t actually, because she knew that she was attractive. The blonde isn’t vain but she knows the way people look at her; men and women alike. She never took advantage of that fact, she was a good pureblood wife, but it didn’t stop her from noticing the looks she continued to receive throughout the years. The woman definitely did not look her age, her skin unmarred by time or weariness even throughout the war though she did wear her age and her experience of the world very well. Thus she knew she did not have to play up for the affection or eyes of Hermione, especially not after the adoration she felt in her gaze after her admittance of loving the library. She also did not want to embarrass the younger woman by calling out the fact she knew she was being watched, so simply continued on as if she did not know of the attention that was sporadically being paid to her work, smiling whenever the brunette went back to work - each time for a shorter period until she was once again spending moments gazing upon her form.

The two continued their peaceful work, a rhythm finally worked up as they each set about clearing and reassembling shelves with Hermione still watching the blonde every so often for a stolen few moments. Their serenity of task was not to last, as a profound crashing following the brash entrance of another body in their sacred place had both women jumping to attention. Only the younger woman was faster, hurling herself through the air whilst whipping out her wand in what seemed to be a well practised move - putting her body between the perceived danger and Narcissa, to the surprise of the Slytherin and the new presence in the library; who just so happened to be the blonde’s niece Nymphadora Tonks. The look in Hermione’s eyes caused Dora to stop short and raise her arms in surrender “It’s me Mia, nothing to worry about. No danger, just clumsy Dora.” The metamorphmagus shifts her hair to her signature bubblegum pink as she talks soothingly trying to get through to the protective war heroine whose wand is trained on her. Although it helped to slightly calm the woman, her aunts softly placed hand on the Gryffindor’s bicep is the thing that finally soothed her.

A wand no longer pointed at her, Dora finally relaxed and shook herself off slightly “I am very sorry for that entrance, didn’t expect books to be on the floor.” She flushes in embarrassment looking at the offending books in the doorway “Mum and Molly sent me to find you both, lunch was scheduled to start 15 minutes ago and they weren’t sure if you guys had just gotten lost to the books or if you had gotten in an argument.” She grins at the two women who have both calmed since her entrance “I am sure you can guess who had which guess.” The metamorph winks at her aunt “So we best get going, you’ve been working for hours, sure you must be hungry.” The two women who had spent their morning in the library had not realised the time that had passed, nor the fact that they were both incredibly hungry until it had been pointed out to them. Thus the three women looked around at the progress that had already been made since they had started and how much better the room was looking, then set down towards the Great Hall for their lunch. Narcissa had moved her hand down from the bicep of the younger woman to lightly hold her hand, still completely surprised at how the woman had leapt into the path of danger to protect her. A blush was on Hermione’s cheeks as soon as her hand was taken into that of the paler woman, glad that Dora was walking ahead and purposely ignoring the two, because she would be far more embarrassed for her friend to see the colour her cheeks had turned.

It had taken no time at all for the trio to make their way through the castle to the Great Hall, or at least that is how it felt for the youngest woman though that was probably because she was on a high from having a hold of Narcissa’s warm dainty hand in her own. She had had a grin on her face the entire walk through the castle, and kept looking down at their linked hands to keep making sure she had been correct in the fact they were holding hands. As the three made their way into the hall, all eyes turned to them. Most had expected the Golden Girl and Slytherin Queen to have been arguing so the sight of them holding hands happily as they made their way in caused them all to be extremely surprised, except for the other two Black sisters who smirked at their sister and their little witch. Hermione knew she should care that all of her friends were staring at her in surprise, probably thinking she was crazy for holding hands with the woman; but she was riding on cloud 9 at that moment and was focused on Narcissa. She refused to hurt the woman or her sisters, so softly slipped her hand from the woman’s “Back to the library after eating?” She asked softly and only after the returning nod from the blonde did she make her way to her own seat with Ginny and Dora, and Teddy of course, still with that happy grin that made the three sisters warm inside.

Chapter Text

The youngest Black sister sat herself opposite her sisters with an incredibly self satisfied smile on her red painted lips, deepening into a smirk as her sisters eyes kept travelling between herself and the young Gryffindor woman she had just entered with. Bellatrix frowns after a moment when she realises her baby sister will not elaborate on what had occurred in the library with Hermione “Well don’t keep it to yourself Cissa, what exactly occurred between you and the little witch to cause you both to walk in holding hands?” Her eyebrows raise waiting for her sister to fill them in on the progress she had so obviously made, likely in part due to the obviously shared connection of their affinity for spending all of their time within libraries, which neither of her older sisters had ever held much value in both rather preferring the physical aspect of knowledge gaining opposed to the intellectual side.

The blonde continues smirking “Well we were simply working on the library, the smart girl has completely restored the restricted section in the two weeks she was hiding” a small frown tilting her lips down as she thinks about the brunette avoiding them “We worked for hours, well I worked the whole time our little Gryffindor spent half of the time watching me and the other half working.” The smirk returns to her face “And when my delightful niece was sent to stumble in and terrify the war hero, she leapt in front of me to protect me from any danger that could be entering the room.” Narcissa smiles lazily as she thinks back to the immediate action of the woman that was destined to be hers and her sisters. The surprised happiness on the faces of her older sisters was likely matched on her own face, as they all think about the way Hermione has been quite open to them developing a connection even with the fabricated memories of Bella and Cissy.

As the three were occupied by thoughts of Hermione whilst they ate their lunch, none of them were actually talking too occupied by their own ideas surrounding the woman and thoughts of their future; the Gryffindor had her favourite toddler on her lap sharing food from her plate. Her friends were trying to question her on what was going on with her and Narcissa, with all three of the sisters Black in fact. The brunette didn’t have any answers for them though, because she did not understand it herself. Obviously they had told her about the prophecy and the fact it was likely about her, but that did not explain how she had felt about them. How even before they had talked she knew she felt something much deeper for the three sisters and part of her hated herself for it, especially the feelings for Bellatrix when she thought the torture memories were real. The girl couldn’t understand why she felt so connected to the dark witch, despite the experience they had had. This prophecy did explain, and the fact the memories were fake definitely helped the case of her developing feelings for the oldest and youngest sisters, she had been quite accepting of her emotions in regards to Andromeda.

So she did what she does best, and diverted attention off of herself with questions regarding Ginny’s restarted relationship with Harry and questions about Teddy and Dora - her friend had been in love with Remus and was heartbroken that he had been one of the casualties of the war but knew there was a time for mourning and she needed to be present for their little boy and not let him forget who his father had been. They spent a very jovial hour, eating and enjoying the company of each other, both of her friends glad that Hermione had returned after her two week break from all others to get used to all of the changes and the fact the war was over. That was until Harry and Ron approached, Harry’s arms wrapping around her body in a quick hug and tickling Teddy on her lap as he did before both boys kissed opposite cheeks. “Missed you Mione” Harry mumbles into her ear, very glad that his sister had returned and seemed in a much better place than she had been. He had wanted his best friends to end up in a relationship and for them to get married in line with him and Ginny and they could all have children. He thought for a while that that was the direction they were all heading, but he understood that the war and being reliant on each other had made those feelings feel more profound, Ron had been happy spending time with Lavender Brown in the two weeks of Hermione’s absence and he knew Hermione did not want to settle into a relationship and marriage yet. His best friends wanted completely different things and he was grateful that they were both mature enough to realise before their bond was put in jeopardy. Once Teddy had reluctantly moved from his favourite brunette’s lap with a deep frown, said brunette sprang up and was quickly enveloped in a three person hug with her boys. They had celebrated briefly before the boys were dragged off to help Kingsley, but now they were all calm and had taken time to come to terms it was just nice to be together. Maybe now they could be three normal teenagers… unlikely but they could all dream.

The three sisters watched from their place further down the table as Hermione relaxed even further in the knowledge her friends were not angry with her for needing some time away from others, they all expressed their need differently after the final battle. Harry had been throwing himself into spending time with Teddy, Dora, Andromeda and the Weasleys; his need of a family surrounding him never as high as it had been following his very near death. Ron had taken to drinking more than he should the first week, and after a drunken conversation with none other than Draco Malfoy he had opened up to his family, and had been talking to Lavender and spending a lot of time with his ex. The three knew they would need to come together, but with everything they had been through - not only in the last year but since the first time they met - they knew it didn’t have to be immediate because the Golden Trio could get through anything, a bit of space was nothing to them. Everyone in the room smiled and averted their eyes while the three teens took comfort in the arms of each other, knowing the contact is something they all needed. What felt like their entire lives they had been gearing up for this war that had been won… by them! It was surreal to each of them, and they knew they would need more time than the allotted lunch. Thus the three decided their dinner would be taken at the Three Broomsticks that evening to allow them time away to talk about anything and everything and just feel like teenagers again. The boys had to rush off to the ministry for the rest of the afternoon, so another two hugs later, they were leaving the castle and Hermione was approaching Narcissa for the pair to head back to the library in an effort to get as much done as they could in the rest of the day.

As the two women made their way through the castle up towards the library Hermione slipped her hand back into Narcissa’s with a small smile, having enjoyed the contact between them earlier on. The blonde smirks slightly and squeezes the hand in hers “If it took you four days alone to complete the restricted section, I am hoping it will only take us two days between us both. Though the main part of the library is slightly larger so maybe three, what do you think?”

The brunette nods her head in agreement “It might be three days but if we work hard we might make it in two.” She grins at Narcissa as they walk through the doors of the library, her grin lessening at the sight of all of the work they need to complete “Okay I think it might end up being three…” Hermione sighs as she looks around the room frowning “Best get started.” Before releasing the hand in hers she softly squeezes it and walks away from the blonde deeper into the library to get started and try to complete as much work as possible before she would be going off to meet her boys for their dinner plans. Despite how much she wanted to work, she wanted to learn about the blonde too “So you said you rivalled me in how much time you spent in here when you were a student… why?” The brunette asks loud enough for Narcissa to be able to hear her wherever she is in the library.

She hears a soft chuckle before the silky voice of Narcissa floats around her “Well much the same reason as you I’m sure darling, the pursuit of knowledge, understanding of things higher. We had very different upbringings, but in many ways we were similar darling. My older sisters are Bellatrix and Andromeda, I may have been the perfect pureblood Slytherin princess but that was because that was all I could have on them. That and knowledge.” Hermione frowns slightly at the tone of the blonde’s voice and makes her way towards the woman.

“You aren’t just their younger sister though. You’re Narcissa Black. You’re gorgeous, and so smart. I bet you were smart without spending all of your time here.” She smiles at the blonde as she stands in front of her “I am so lucky that I might be the one that is destined to be with the three of you. And I am lucky that if that is me, I will be able to learn with you forever, I think you might be one of the only people that would be able to keep up with me in debates.” A brown eye winks at blue with a grin still on her face. Narcissa’s eyes widen in surprise at the words of the younger woman, smiling to herself even as Hermione walks back to where she was working at the silence of the older woman.

The blonde follows her silently, before quickly wrapping her arms around the lithe body of the brunette “Thank you darling. I don’t think anyone has ever actively sought out a life of debating with me. Even Sev got sick of me after a while.” Narcissa smiles “Now how about we get some more work done, so we will be able to start those debates.” The older woman walks back to her own area of work and the two work silently through the rest of the afternoon, both secretly smiling at the sheer thought of the future they may have together and the discussions they will spend their life having. They made a great deal of progress, more than they had that morning likely due to the fact they were working separately so Hermione wasn’t spending half of her time staring at the other woman as she worked.

Soon enough the alarm the younger woman had set on her wand caused it to start vibrating in her hand, shocking her enough to drop her wand. Scrambling to pick it up as a blonde head appeared around a bookcase with a raised eyebrow causing Hermione’s face to heat up almost instantly “Didn’t realise the time and the wand alarm shocked me.” She mumbles out blushing deeply “I think we are done for the day, I’m meeting Harry and Ron in Hogsmeade for dinner.” She smiles at the older woman moving closer to her with an amused smile on her lips.

“Not to worry darling, we all get distracted and surprised. I don’t think we all blush quite so prettily as you though.” A pale hand caresses the cheek of the brunette while the owner of the hand smirks at a squeak that escapes the younger woman. “I do hope you enjoy your dinner, as much as I would have liked to see you this evening. You need to spend time with your best friends.” Narcissa nods at the brunette smiling before she turns around and heads to the door and back out into the castle, finally allowing Hermione to release the breath she did not realise she had held as the older woman approached her. After a few moments of shock, the brunette finally snapped back into thought and left the library in the steps of the blonde making her way through the castle and out the main doors, closing her eyes at the feel of the late afternoon sun on her skin and heat in the air before starting her walk from the castle into the small village to meet her best friends, a large smile on her face thinking of her time spent with the blonde during the day and a hopefully normal night with her two brothers. She knew they had a lot to talk about, having heard about Ron and Lavender and Harry and Ginny; while Hermione was considering sharing what she had learned about the Black sisters prophecy and her connection to the three sisters. She knew their reactions might not be the most positive, but she knew they would support her in whatever she wanted and after everything they had all been through they would support if that is the relationship that would make her happy after the war and the hardships of their lives. So she would tell them, at least everything she knew she would tell them, and they would help her figure out the next steps, well they would support her while she would figure out the rest of the prophecy and her future.

Chapter Text

The three teens sat at a quiet table in the pub they visited during their years as students, looking at each other in mild bewilderment. Hermione had just made her way through the door and into a small conversation with Madame Rosmerta when the boys walked through the door, almost immediately the trio were surrounded with congratulations and people wanting to shake their hands. Rosmerta had eventually told the punters to leave them alone or get out of the pub, when she spotted each of the three becoming increasingly more uncomfortable as time passed and none of them were looking to stop talking to the three. They definitely hadn’t gotten used to all of the attention they would be receiving due to their part in ending the war, the so called ‘Golden Trio’ but they didn’t want to be the Golden Trio. They just wanted to be normal teenagers, in a world they didn’t win a war, didn’t sacrifice their childhood, didn’t sacrifice their parents… They could try to be normal together, but with everyone wanting a piece of them, some funny anecdote about their time on the run - because none of them understood just how difficult it was. The constant fear of capture making each of them scared of any small noises even now when their rational brains knew it was over; the lack of food and rations they needed which they hadn’t really thought about until Ron tried to eat the same amount of food he always did in the first feast only to run out and be sick because of how his stomach had shrunk and not been used to proper meals. They didn’t want anyone to find out what it was truly like, because they each knew the looks they would receive, from family and strangers; so the three silently agreed to keep it between them. They would meet up and find solidarity in each other, and not bring others into the fear that was their lives for so long.

That in no way meant they couldn’t have fun together, because at the end of the day they are still teenagers and they are still best friends. So after each ordering a meal from Rosmerta and having butterbeers placed on the table in front of them, Hermione looked between the two wondering who would be the first to tell their story of the last few weeks. She was not disappointed, as after his first sip of the cold drink, Ron sat up straighter indicating he would be the one to begin the conversation “So Mione… I just want to make sure we are on the same page before we get into this.” He reaches across the table and squeezes her hand in his much larger one “I love you and I know I always will. Maybe if we hadn’t gone on the run and had to do everything we did, we would have ended up together. Maybe we wouldn’t have and it would have always led to this. I know we kissed in the Chamber, but I think that maybe solidified how we actually feel…” The ginger boy continues to ramble along, not realising the amused smiles on both Hermione and Harry’s faces.

Hermione decides to finally take pity on him and interjects “Slow down Ron, I am sure we do feel the same. We have a connection, but it is more of a familial connection. You are my brother and yes I will always love you, but as my brother. Not as anything romantic” She smiles at him as he takes a deep breath, his face flushing red as he realises how much he was rambling so he wouldn’t hurt her feelings, even if he was 99% sure she did not feel romantically for him. “Besides, who am I to stand between Won-Won and Lav-Lav?” The young woman laughs softly along with Harry as Ron goes even brighter red at the mention of the old nicknames of him and the girl he had been getting close to once again, but soon joins in with their laughter at thoughts of a much happier and easier time - hoping they could get back to that time again and feel happiness like it.

The boy takes another deep breath to start off their conversation about what they had been doing, with a smile still on his face “What can I say? We must be a power couple.” He chuckles and scrunches his nose at the term he had heard from Ginny “Merlin I can’t even believe it was following a drunk conversation with Malfoy that led me to Lav.” The boy shakes his head, his overgrown hair shaking into his eyes slightly “That first week after it was over…” His blue eyes avert to the table as he fiddles with the bottle of his drink. Harry rests his hand on his best friend's shoulder, and Hermione reaches out to take his hand, both of them completely understanding. “I was worried about Fred, St Mungo’s have said he is gonna be okay, everyone that was gone. I just didn’t want to think about it, so I didn’t. I drank so much, even drank some muggle alcohol.” He chuckles darkly “I hated how it felt, but it felt better than I did without it.”

Harry nods his head “Ginny has had to vanish alcohol from me a few nights because the lost feeling in alcohol is so much better than the lost feeling of everyday. How can they praise us?!” He starts to get louder and more worked up as he spots people still staring at them from all around the pub.

Hermione quickly interjects “I got drunk last night, Andy came and found me. But I’ll explain that after, you still need to finish Ron.” She grins knowing he needs to talk about Malfoy and Lavender, which will cheer the three up until Harry and herself need to tell the beginning of their own catch up.

“Yeah well I was in the Hogs Head one night, just intent to drink myself into some other feeling. I knew Malfoy was in the pub, he had been the last few nights with me, but we never spoke. Nodded at each other depending on who came in last, but basically ignoring each other. Reckon I probably got a bit bad that night.” He glances up at Rosmerta as she levitates their meals in front of each of them, all three smiling at the woman gratefully. “So he came over and sat next to me. Apologised for not being able to do more than postpone his dad when we were at their manor…” He shudders at the thought of the fake memory of Hermione screaming, as does Harry next to him while the woman flinches at that “Then he basically told me to tell him anything I wanted. I got angry, I remember thinking how could he have any idea of what he asked, so I told him everything. How you sacrificed your parents to ensure they wouldn’t get hurt because of being friends with us…” Blue eyes meet brown across the table as he squeezes her small hand “How I saved Harry from what I thought was him drowning himself when Snape brought us the sword.” He shakes his head “Even how we kissed and I thought it would be everything falling into place, but it wasn’t.” The redhead takes a bite of his food along with the two brunette’s sat with him “By the end he was silent, don’t think he expected me to spurt everything” he shrugs with a scowl on his face “Git deserved to hear it all. But anyway, he basically told me it was the past, pointed out how I was hurting my family and ignored Lav everytime she tried to talk or approach me when I was in the castle. Right arse he was, but I needed it.” Hermione and Harry smile sympathetically and nod, understanding how hard headed the ginger is and how he sometimes needs a shove in the right direction, not just the gentle nudge his mother thinks he does. “Got up, didn’t even finish the drink that was in front of me. Made my way up to the castle, probably stumbling and looking a right twat, but I needed to apologise to mum and Lavender. Found Lav first and spewed a long winded apology, slurring most of my words. She wouldn’t let me floo or apparate to mum till I sobered up. When I woke up the next morning I apparated straight away, ran through Mungos to Fred’s room and nobody tried to stop me when they realised who I was. I dunno when I started crying but as I ran into the door I was sobbing. Mum was terrified till I apologised for how I’d acted. Felt like a git. George grabbed my shoulder and hugged me too, didn’t need to apologise apparently just needed to come back to them.” He smiles, wiping a few of the tears that had run down his cheeks chuckling as Hermione did the same with a slightly watery smile having always loved the Weasley family. “Well that's me, the last week I’ve been between helping Kings and Harry, at Fred’s hospital room or spending time reconnecting with Lavender.” He grins and they eat some more of all of their dinners as they take in all of the information Ron had put out, Harry and Hermione looking at each other silently agreeing that the other male would go next; part of Harry worried about the look in the brown eyes locked on to him.

Harry downs what was left in his bottle of butterbeer, and signals to Rosmerta for another round of them for the three with a soft smile. He waits until the new cold bottles are on the table and the empty ones have been whisked away by some spell he needs to learn before he starts his own little debrief of their time apart. “Well mate, can’t say mine is going to be any better than your story. Less crying, slightly less alcohol but lets go shall we.” None of the three had managed to finish their meals, and from their obvious looks of having completed them their plates all follow the empty bottles to wherever they have gone as they sit. “We went off to the ministry as soon as everything at the castle had calmed and we knew who was alive. It was pretty easy actually, to take the ministry back. Anyone left there gave up as soon as they heard Voldemort was really gone. As soon as that was over, and everything with Snape and the Blacks, the adrenaline went away. It was terrifying, it was all over but what was next. You guys know as well as I do that for the last 7 years we have been training up and gearing for that fight. I didn’t know, I don’t know who I am in the wizarding world without a war looming, with Tom dead. I spiralled more than I expected, tried picking fights with Snape and Bellatrix, they didn’t let me. Think they know what was wrong, what I was gearing for. Ginny helped, tried to steer me to the person I was trying to be, when I was with her.” He smiles sadly thinking of who he was before he had taken lives, and felt the dark magic of the locket in his soul. “I’ve spent most of my time that wasn’t with Kings with Teddy, Ginny and Dora. He makes me feel lighter than I have in a long time. But that doesn’t stop the fear and the nightmares. I’d wake up every night after maybe an hour drenched in sweat terrified he was there with me.” Harry shudders as he thinks of his nightmares “And I’d drink. A bottle a night for most of them. Gin would sometimes wake up, some nights she didn’t and only knew when a new bottle was gone.” He smiles wryly as he takes a drink looking between his friends as they listen, sad looks on their faces “It was Andromeda one night that found me. She got rid of the half empty bottle, I got mad and she stared me down. Not sure if it was the look of a mum or the look of a Black, but it was terrifying. Sat down with me.” He smiles fondly at the thought “Told me straight that it was going to be terrifying, that it would take me time to heal and become the person I should have been, if I wasn’t for being raised into a war and groomed to fight one of the biggest evils a world I didn’t even know about had ever seen. She even told me it might be good to talk to Bellatrix because she was on the other side, secretly ours for years. She spent years in prison to keep up with the image of being the insane right hand woman so she might understand how its so weird to finally just be.” The bespectacled boy looks between his friends unsure of how they may react to the thought of him becoming friends with Bellatrix Black because of their shared fear of what is the new normal within the wizarding world, Hermione had a strange look on her face the boy didn’t understand and Ron was surprisingly nodding his head, knowing the world had changed more than any of them had expected.

Hermione sighed knowing it is coming upon time for her to share but responds to Harry first “I think it probably would be good for you to talk to Bellatrix, your situations are not identical but they are similar enough and I am sure you are both probably feeling very similarly. I know I feel something akin to that, but obviously I’m not the one that was destined to kill him, I just helped keep you alive until it was time for you to do that.” She grins at the two boys as they all laugh in agreement. “I know it is my turn, and I think we are all going to need a little more to get through parts of my last two weeks… one shot and nothing more. We all need to calm down on our drinking.” She sighed and rose from her seat, approaching the bar to order three more butterbeers for them and three shots of firewhiskey.

The boys sit confused until she comes back to sit with them, Harry deciding to be the one to address it “What could have happened to warrant a shot for you to tell it and us to hear? You have been in the castle for the last two weeks?” When Hermione simply raises her eyebrows at him as their drinks are floated over, he nods his head “Whatever it is, we will get through together, just like everything.” He picks up one of the shot glasses and lifts it to the middle of the table, waiting for his companions to do the same.

Hermione raises hers last, clinking it against Harry and Ron’s “Merlin I hope you still feel that way after you hear it.” They all quickly drink their shot down, none of them reacting to the burn in the back of their throats, sadly too used to it by now. “Obviously you know most of what happened in the head office from what McGonnagal told everyone. After she left and I was alone with the Blacks and Snape, Bellatrix came close to where I was sitting. She was apologising profusely and got me to roll up my sleeve, where she had ‘marked’.” Hermione grips the bottom of her sleeve and both boys flinch remembering what had been there last they had seen their sisters bare arm. “She changed it. It was powerful dark magic, and because she had marked me something had to be there…” She raises her sleeve to show the infinity symbol that replaced the slur “She said this would remind me of how I will always get through any problem. Then Narcissa came and sat on my other side. She apologised for entering my mind and tampering with my memories, I assume she did the same when she changed yours, before she easily slipped into my mind and fixed them, showing that yes I had been crucioed once for the purpose of changing the memory but I had not been tortured as we had thought.” Hermione stops and takes a deep breath and a long swallow from her drink. “I didn’t understand. I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about both of them since we had escaped, obviously the fact they hadn’t hurt me and were on our side helped. Every night I had nightmares of them, but all day I had incredible daydreams. It was tearing me apart but I had to stay focused. After I left the office I had to get away. It felt like I couldn’t breathe, so I ran to the only place I felt safe. The…”

Both boys talk along with her as they all say “Library,” together before they all break into laughs, some tears entering Hermione’s eyes at how even after everything she was slightly predictable. Ron then interjects before Hermione has a chance to continue “Ginny, Mum, Andromeda and well nearly everyone wanted to follow you. We knew you would have gone to the library first, but we also knew you wouldn’t have gone if you didn’t need space. So we explained briefly how we felt and that we knew you wouldn’t want to be followed, maybe even react badly. I know I would have if it was me.” He frowns at even the thought “I just wanted to say that so you didn’t think we didn’t care.” He smiles sheepishly at his best friend.

Hermione smiles back at him widely “It never even crossed my mind that you didn’t care, in fact I was glad I hadn’t been followed because I assumed you two stopped anyone who wanted to. But yeah I ran in to the library and it was a mess, a combination of that and everything else I just fell apart. I cried for everything I was never able to. For my parents, Dobby, Colin Creevey, Lupin, Sirius… all the people that were lost because of one man. I think I made even more of a mess of the library because when I opened my eyes I had pushed bookshelves and books away from me, some had fallen more than they were before from a magic burst.” She shakes her head, some tears falling down her face as she talks. “I know I was needed, but I couldn’t be around anyone. I couldn’t face them. So I hid from what was wrong and worked 4 days near enough straight to clean up the restricted section. It was only when I was so physically exhausted I literally couldn’t keep casting spells that I stopped and had an actual rest.” She winces at the annoyed looks on both boys' faces. “That is when I thought alcohol would help. I called for Winky and she brought me a bottle of firewhisky, as long as I promised not to give her any of my clothes.” Brown eyes roll in slight annoyance with a small smile on her face “I realised that drinking made me feel way better than just working stupidly hard, so I drank. I let myself sleep and drink for a few days, then when I felt strong again I mixed drinking and working. Somehow it actually went relatively well, and I cleaned up some of the classrooms and hallways around the library, I don’t even remember doing half of the work.” She takes another sip of her butterbeer looking at the two boys across from her. “I only came back because of Winky. She sat down with me one night. She had brought me dinner and another bottle and a few hours later came to check on me. She seemed so sad, and explained that when she came to Hogwarts it was Dobby and his friends that helped her when she was unhappy and drinking lots, she meant us three when talking about his friends. We helped her see that sometimes really bad things can happen, but good things can come along after them, and with people with you you can enjoy the good things and soon move away from the bad, but never forget the bad.” More tears fall from her eyes as she explains how the little elf had sat with her while she cried and decided to join her friends again, having started to move on from her anger and despair and needing support.

Both boys frown “What about that needed firewhiskey Mione?” Ron asks frowning “It was similar to ours?” He tilts his head confused.

“That is coming up now.” She sighs “So I came back to join everyone for dinner, but ran out when Narcissa rested her hand on my shoulder as you all know. I realised I couldn’t do it, and ran off to a muggle pub. I got drunk and tried to stop thinking about everything. Especially the Black sisters.” She watches the two boys carefully now, getting to the part she doesn’t quite fully understand and the part she is scared of telling. “Andromeda followed me, I think I had upset Narcissa when I ran away and she was insistent on finding me to make sure I was okay. She convinced me to come back with her, preferring to know I was safe in the castle. I hadn’t felt at peace during those two weeks, and just with Andy sat next to me I started to feel some. I had no idea what was happening with myself, but agreed. I was already sick of drinking but one look from everyone and I ran away again. When she apparated us back, Bellatrix and Narcissa were waiting, I think I got told off then they took me to the dungeons because they didn’t want me to choke on sick.” Hermione scrunches up her nose at the thought ‘Golden Girl battled Voldemort, defeated by muggle alcohol’. “They obviously made sure I was comfortable around them, but they made a large bed, surrounded me and I slept the best night I have had since maybe early sixth year. Admittedly I did wake up scared about who I was in bed with, but after that shock they told me they had something we all needed to discuss.” She looks between her two boys, her brothers and reaches across to take one of their hands in hers, tears welling up in her eyes again hoping they do not reject her. “They told me that years ago there was a prophecy made to their family, that three sisters would be born to the Black name, and together along with a muggleborn they would restore their family name. They are all very sure that I am the muggleborn of the prophecy, and I believe them to be right. You both know I have always had some weird connection with Andy since we met, you even both teased me about it. And the fact even after I thought they hurt me, I couldn’t not think about Bellatrix and Narcissa after we escaped Malfoy Manor…” She looks at their shocked faces “Do you guys hate me?” She asks terrified of their answer, as some of the tears once again leak from her eyes, as she wipes them frustrated with how emotional she had gotten through her own recollection of events.

Both of her boys immediately shake their heads “How could we ever hate you?!” Harry frowns “We told you we would figure out whatever it was together, and if you actually are destined to be with three Black sisters, you are going to need all the help you can get!” Matching grins are aimed at the bushy haired brunette, and the young woman cannot decide if she should be grateful for their continued support or worried about what that support would bring…

Chapter Text

The three teens stayed in the pub for hours after they had finished their catch up, simply enjoying relaxing and being in a calm environment for maybe the first time since their first year. Each of them enjoying their time away from troubles for a very different reason, Hermione glad to have told her brothers (they just are family now, everything they had shared and experienced essentially cemented their bond in her mind) about everything with the three sisters and happy they had offered their support and not rejected her. Ron needed some time away, obviously they all knew what they were walking into but that didn’t stop the fact they are barely adults and have gone through more than some people double their ages, even triple their ages and he just wanted to act like a teenager. Harry… well he just wanted people to stop looking at him as some sort of hero and treat him like the person he wishes he was. Which is why he spends as much time with his two best friends as possible, because they never look at him like some sort of spectacle, in fact when the three are together everyone else looks at them all like they are a spectacle.

By the time the three teens found themselves stumbling up the path towards the castle, they knew that all other sane occupants would be asleep, which would be why a very tipsy Ron was making his way shushing his companions, very loudly with a finger to his lips defeating the purpose of wanting to be quiet making the most noise himself. Hermione shakes her head at her two best friends as they make their way in through the large entrance doors, stumbling slightly in her inebriated state, causing a loud giggle to escape her lips as she turns to her suddenly silent drinking buddies. As she does she spots them both standing pale with wide eyes looking behind her body, the young woman does not seem to take in what their faces may mean as she lets out a loud laugh “You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” The brunette releases peals of laughter as she turns, suddenly stopping herself at the sight of an angry and tired looking Molly Weasley and an amused Bellatrix Black standing at the base of the grand staircase before them. Brown eyes widened as she took in the two women, Molly glowering and Bellatrix smirking “Uh good evening Molly... Bellatrix. Is everything okay?” She asks slowly trying not to slur her words, hearing Ron snort slightly behind her.

Molly huffs loudly “Is everything okay?!” The red headed woman shakes her head vigorously “I have been worried the three of you may have gotten kidnapped from someone wanting revenge. But no… the three of you have just been off getting drunk.” She glares at her youngest son when he lets out another snort “Do you find this funny Ronald? Does your mother worrying entertain you? Lets see how entertaining it is when you help around here tomorrow with no potions to help with your inevitable hangover.” The woman glares at her now sheepish son, sending smaller glares to both Harry and Hermione. “Now get yourselves up to Gryffindor boys, it is late enough already. Hermione dear, Bellatrix has said she and her sisters will ensure you are looked after tonight.” The woman smiles softly at her, as both boys snigger behind her, the brunette hearing ‘You’re in trouble’ and a few other remarks made by both until she waves her wand and sends a stinging hex at both of them, smirking at their simultaneous yelps in response.

Hermione bids the two red heads and black haired boy goodnight as they begin their ascent before Bella takes her arm and begins to lead her back towards the dungeons “Cissy and Andy are probably sleeping already. Drinking two days in a row? Am I to begin wondering you are developing a problem little witch?” A slightly amused but concerned look is directed towards her while the woman raises a perfectly arched eyebrow.

The younger woman blushes as she walks and shakes her head, still quite drunk “No, yesterday was a one off, I was stressed and angry at my brain. Though I do have a better understanding of why I was feeling the way I was so that’s better. Tonight was… I don’t really know how to describe it. We needed to just let go and be ourselves, caught up on everything that we have all gone through since I avoided everyone for a while and about what we are planning. The boys now know about the prophecy and everything, they were quite entertained at the thought I’m meant to be with the three of you and knew I would need help through it all.” She giggles as she leans on the older woman’s arm, not entirely thinking about what she is saying to the woman, smiling as she catches the smirk that was on the woman's lips turn up into a small genuine smile.

Bellatrix smiles at the fact the Gryffindor shared with her friends that there is a prophecy between the four women, part of her had been very worried the teen would reject the idea and ignore that it is even an occurrence because of the fabricated but vivid past between them. She pulls the shorter woman closer to her body slightly with a smile “I am glad you were able to share it with them, and that they both reacted favourably; even if I am not sure how I should feel about their comments about you needing help with us.” The dark witch chuckles lowly at the thought with a slightly furrowed brow. “I also know that in no way does that change that we have a long way to go… I know the fake memories still affect you Hermione, and there is not much I can do except help you through your nightmares and show you that I am not the woman I was perceived as during my time with the Death Eaters.” The older woman looks away from her companion as she speaks the Slytherin password, eyes down ashamed while leading them both into the dark room, spotting her sisters asleep together on a bed much like the one from the night before.

Hermione frowns slightly at how small and sad Bellatrix seemed to have gotten “I know it is going to take some time, I cannot say I will wake up tomorrow and never react to you in a potentially adverse way if I am in some sort of episode. But I do know you are not the woman we were all led to believe, it will take some time for my subconscious to establish that, but last night with all of you was the first time I had not had a nightmare since, well I don’t even know how long. Which proves even more that I am safe with all of you, and my mind knows that and knows you are all there. We will get there Bellatrix, you may just have to be patient with me. But we could work on it tomorrow? I was thinking about going to the Room of Requirement to see if there is anything to salvage, and then the library after lunch. I know Narcissa will likely join me in the library… would you like to accompany me to the Room of Requirement?” The young woman smiles in earnest at the only other awake soul within the room, lighting up slightly at the happy look in near black eyes meeting her brown.

“I would love to join you in discovering how it has faired after the fiendfyre, whether the castle simply blocked off that room or if it is completely destroyed…” The dark witch trails off, her obvious interest and fascination showing on her face as she considers what may have happened with the incredibly powerful room. Hermione watches her expressions and obvious thoughts with a smile on her lips, knowing she made the correct decision in asking for help from the woman. She had wanted to spend more time with the witch, and her extensive knowledge of dark magic and her sheer power would definitely prove to not only be incredibly fascinating but also very helpful in understanding the magic, as she herself did not have much knowledge on that kind of magic - the resources within the restricted section never did go into enough detail.

“Then it is decided, after breakfast we can go and see if there is anything left over!” Her face shows just how excited she is about possibly seeing some of the power of the castle. “But now we need to go to sleep, or I really won’t want to wake up.” The brunette giggles slightly, smiling when her clothes are transfigured and her skin slightly caressed by the magic of the dark witch. The two climb into the bed beside the two other Black sisters, curling up to join them in slumber. Neither of the two knowing that the other has a matching smile on their face due to just how happy they are because of the progress and obvious bond they are building.

Chapter Text

The younger two Black sisters woke the next morning slowly, confusion and shock replacing the left over sleep clouding their brains. Bellatrix was not in bed with them when they fell asleep together. Their relationship has always been different, taking comfort from each other for as long as they could because of their mother, it had evolved when they had gotten older and knew they were to share a soul mate. After everything they had all been through, sleeping in the same bed had been a saving grace and had calmed them all. The addition of Hermione the previous night had made them feel complete, and the surprise addition of her caused happiness and slight confusion, spotting her curled into Bellatrix soundly sleeping. Their older sister explained her late walk and bumping into the Weasley matriarch, having a conversation over tea to try and calm the woman worrying over the Golden Trio who had been out for hours, and how they waited for the three to make their way in stumbling and giggling, obviously intoxicated. How Molly had gone off on the boys and released Hermione to the care of the Black sisters, and how the younger woman had been very happy to work with her that day around the castle. Her sisters were elated with the progress being made between the two, knowing it has been harder because of the fake memories they had to place within the girl. All three women were silenced when their Gryffindor stirred against the eldest in the room, mumbling and grumbling as she buried her face closer to Bella, incidentally nuzzling into her breasts.

The three women smirked at the behaviour of the smaller woman, practically purring into Bellatrix’s chest as said woman runs her hand through tangled brown hair. Hermione jumps up in surprise when she realises where she is, her face flushed a deep red as all three Black women chuckle “Do you always blush this much darling, or is it just around us?” Narcissa purrs with a smirk as the red on the brunette’s face deepens even more.

The Gryffindor sputters a few times still blushing “It would seem being around all of you I have been blushing more than I did before, though before that we were in the middle of a war so blushing was not something that was very high up on my list.” She tries to deflect the attention of how much the sisters affect her whenever she is around them, but knows by the three matching smirks being sent her way they know exactly what she is up to. “Well I think it is time to get up for breakfast to get a start on today…” Hermione looks to Bellatrix “Who knows what is waiting for us in the Room of Requirement.” She scrunches her nose in an adorable manner before moving out of the strong arms of the darker witch. All three sisters lay back onto the large bed in the middle of the Slytherin common room with smirks affixed their faces as they watch the younger woman still blushing and busying herself with transfiguring her clothes into something else “I am going to go up to Gryffindor and get some actual clothes and not transfigured ones, I will see you all in the Great Hall for breakfast.” The brunette nods her head resolutely and heads to the door before stopping “Thank you for letting me stay with you in here again last night, I sleep very well with all of you.” Hermione smiles at the three sisters before leaving the room.

The three women smile at the door their young love just left through, happy with the progress they have all been making with the Gryffindor. They each get up, deciding she was right even if they all want to stay in bed, following the lead of Hermione. They each change into some other clothes and get ready for another day working to fix the castle. The three women looked as they always did, exceptionally elegant and put together - as if they had each stepped out of a witch magazine. When they walked into the Great Hall together, all others automatically looked to them, in awe of the presence the three exuded as the sisters smile rather than their usual smirks. Each sisters eyes travel the others within the hall in search of their gryffindor, all locking eyes on her simultaneously; their smiles intensifying at the soft one being sent their way.

Hermione watches the three goddesses saunt their way to an empty space to begin their breakfast, knowing a flush has risen from her chest up her face due to the smirks being directed from her hungover best friends. Discreetly slipping her wand from ints holster on her arm, she sends wordless stinging hexes towards the toy, smirking at their simultaneus yelps of surprise. The two boys redden to near the colour of Ron’s hair as all eyes in the hall divert to the pair of them away from their own conversations, and the two boys glare at the giggling brunette sitting across from them. Molly shakes her head from further up the table “Just because the three of you saved the wizarding world, does not mean you get to act like children at the table. Understood?” She raises a menacing eyebrow at the three, though has a smile on her face glad the Golden Trio are able to forget about everything and act like young people despite the year they had been through.

All three turn their faces to their plates with deep flushes feeling thoroughly chastised, but discreetly grin at each other enjoying feeling like normal teenagers for once, even if the matriarch had pointed out how they had helped save their world. All of the others sat at the table smile fondly at the trio noticing their grins and happy dispositions, not many happier for them than the Black sisters - all three happy that the young woman is becoming relaxed and happy after everything they had been through. They knew that there would be bumps in the road, with the past they shared and the likely PTSD the younger woman would suffer from at some point; all of the adults knew to keep an eye on the three because of the dark magic and the situations they had been around since their first year at Hogwarts and especially the last year. Obviously the sisters are more worried about their potential soul mate, but they have concern regarding her best friends also as they know that Hermione will be worried about them should their behaviour change at any point. They are each happy that the brunette seems happy to spend time with each of them individually, ensuring that they all connect with her, but also that they are all able to garner their own thoughts about the frame of mind of the young woman and how she is feeling.

The trio enjoy themselves over the remainder of their breakfast giggling and joking about any topic that comes to mind, just being themselves not thinking about the others around them or the situations they are in. They were enjoying their conversations and forgetting about their jobs for the day, until a hand rested itself on Hermione’s shoulder shocking her. As she turns her eyes meet Bellatrix’s as the older woman smiles down at her softly “I was just going to head up towards the Room of Requirement because Cissy and Andy are going off to walk the grounds with McGonagell to check the wards. I don’t want to rush you, I just wanted you to know where I was incase you thought I had forgotten or just left.” The older woman nods “Just meet me up there when you are ready.”

Hermione stands up quickly after the two boys smile and nod at her “Oh not to worry, I didn’t realise the time, we should all actually get started. I am ready when you are.” The young brunette grins at the wild haired woman, as she starts to walk towards the doors alongside her. The two make their way up through the castle towards the Room of Requirement, quietly walking together not needing conversation as they move through the castle. The journey through so different from the last time Hermione was running from the room, remembering the feeling of the Fiendfyre chasing behind them and the terror the young woman felt throughout the final battle returning slightly to her body as she stiffened up slightly with every step towards the room. Bellatrix noticed her companion becoming progressively stiffer and was trying to come up with something to say to the Gryffindor to help her, but knew there would be nothing to say to change how she may feel. Hermione takes a deep breath and summons all of the courage left inside herself, straightening up and puffing her chest out slightly, knowing she needs to push through however she is feeling; she won a war, no need getting scared going into a simple room.

They arrive at the stretch of wall to call the room, and Hermione requests the last room they were in, the room of hidden things, unsure of whether the room would be able to conjure up any more locations due to potential damage caused by the Fiendfyre spell. As the door appeared, the young woman took a very deep breath and prepared herself for how the room may look, glancing up to Bellatrix and garnering a nod and an encouraging smile, she pushed open the heavy doors.

Both women stood in shocked silence as they look at the scorched room before them, both stood still as they absorbed the smell and state of the room of hidden things. Hermione moves slowly as she enters the room, eyes searching as she allows her magic to reach out and interact with the room; not realising she is leaving the dark witch staring at her in surprise as her soft but powerful magic branches out of her body. Bellatrix watches the younger girl enter the room, eyes wide and intrigued about just how powerful the Gryffindor actually is, knowing even some of the most experienced wizards cannot do such things with their magic. “Hum… little witch, how did you learn to do that?” The husky voice entering the room shocks both women, Bellatrix not even realising she was going to talk as she follows the young woman in.

Hermione spins around quickly, eyes meeting Bella’s “Oh.” Her magic stops searching the room as she realises what she was doing “I’ve always been able to sort of feel the magical aura of things I suppose you can call it. But its only the last year or so that I have begun to allow my magic to reach out with it and interact.” She smiles self consciously, nobody had ever asked so she had simply assumed she was the only one that could feel it because it was her magic, obviously it was either the connection or that others simply do not pay attention.

Bellatrix smiles widely “I assume that is how you have been so successful with repairing classrooms and the library, you allow your magic to interact and weave through you are not trying to push your own into the castle. Very interesting to consider…” The older woman trails off as she thinks about the new piece of information that may help with the others repairing, though she knows if they do not have the connection Hermione does with her magic it will not work. “Not many people accept their magic to the level you have, most simply use it as a tool. You have allowed it to enter your entire body, presumably you are proficient in wandless and wordless magic? Possibly also occlumency, not proficient but a natural protective shield because of your acceptance of your magic.” She raises an eyebrow as she questions the younger woman who blushes slightly and nods her head. A surprised laugh escapes her deep red lips when her wand suddenly jerks from her hand and into the air directly into Hermione’s “Very clever little witch…” She smirks as she slowly approaches the proud looking Gryffindor holding her curved wand “But trust when I say you do not wish to challenge me yet, you may have power though it is nothing on mine.” She winks as she leans in very closely to the now blushing young woman, easily removing her wand from shaking tan hands. “Let’s get to work shall we?” Bella moves away quickly and chipperly knowing she should not tease her soul mate too much to allow her to get used to her presence and personality.

Hermione shakes herself off slightly, blinking away the surprise and slight arousal towards the older woman, turning around and continuing her check of the room and again allowing her magic to reach out and assess the magical problems that may arise withing the room after the dark curse. At hearing a sharp breath from the other woman around a corner, she rushes to ensure she is not hurt and gasps when her eyes fall on what shocked the dark witch. Horrifically burnt and charred in the middle of one of the tight passages lay the body of Vincent Crabbe, the caster of the flame curse that debilitated the room. Tears spring to brown eyes as she spins around, moving quickly away before expelling her breakfast over the floor of an adjoining aisle, thoughts on just how many children died during this war, and how close she and the boys were to dying themselves because of the boys silly choice of curse that just killed himself. A soft hand resting firmly against her back shocks her back to where she is, as she spells her sick away quickly and straightens up “I’m fine. We need to take him to the hospital wing so Madam Pomfrey and Minerva can alert his family and plan a funeral for him.” The young woman turns off her emotions, knowing it is not the time for her to be emotional, she has a job to do. Bellatrix frowns at her but moves away slowly and sadly, knowing this is how the young woman survived through the war.

The dark witch makes her way through the room further, after moving Vincent’s body closer to the entrance to take away once they have finished checking over the room. As she moves through she feels as though she has been inside the room before, unsure of why she recognises it not recalling finding the room during her time at the school. She moves past a pile of discarded books that are no more than a pile of ash and her eyes widen slightly “Oh…” She says aloud as her eyes take in the cabinet she had seen multiple times a year prior. Hermione moves around the corner at the sound of her voice, again wondering what it is that has caused a reaction from the poised older witch.

The brown eyes of the young woman take in Bellatrix and then the cabinet before her, confusion turning to anger as she realises what they are stood in front of. The dark witch winces slightly as she can feel the change in the magic permeating the room from the younger woman, the darker tinges to the feeling showing her emotions as she thinks back to the night that changed the course of the war, the night she herself was involved in. “You were there. You watched Dumbledore fall from the tower, and laughed as you were chased away. I don’t understand how you could have been this person and still acted in that way.” Hermione looks around the room, thinking about Crabbe, Colin Creevey, her parents, her childhood; everything that came at the expense of this stupid war. The fact that Bellatrix being a spy could have stopped that it all happened, but she remained as Voldemort’s ‘right hand man’. Yes, Neville’s parents had been healed; but none of them could reverse the fates of the people that gave their lives to a war they were born into, one their elders and parents should have fought. Not them. Hermione shakes her head “From what I could tell, the magic of the room is entirely intact. Obviously this room has been destroyed and it will need to be cleaned, or it can simply just not be used. I need to go, could you take Crabbe to Madam Pomfrey?” The young woman asks not looking towards the Slytherin as she talks, needing some time away.

Bellatrix frowns down at her, not wanting her to be angry “Hermione don’t just leave, can we have a conversation? Yes I was there when Dumbledore died, you know what Snape said and showed us, he asked to be killed rather than by the curse. Why are you running away?”

As soon as fire erupted in the brown eyes before her, Bellatrix knew she made a mistake. “Running away! I am not running away from anything. I do not run away from things. Not anymore. I ran from those snatchers in the woods, didn’t work. I ran away from my family to protect them, now I can’t find them. There is no point in running away from things. I am walking away from you because right now I cannot identify the fact you were a spy throughout, and can only think of the things you did when I interacted with you. Merlin you even taunted Harry about killing Sirius!” The young Gryffindor throws her hands up as a thunderous expression makes its way onto the spy’s face.

“Do not mention my cousin to me. The spell should not have hit him. It wasn’t even a killing curse. He should not have been anywhere near that veil, he knew what it was. Do not presume to know my reactions. I had to behave that was or my sister and nephew would have died. I mourned my cousin. Of that you have no idea.” Bellatrix turns around and heads to the door silently, both women in the room angry at the other, neither thinking about how this was supposed to be an opportunity to bond, rather both wanting to brandish their wands but knowing better. The dark witch covers the body of Crabbe in a summoned white sheet and immediately leaves the Golden Girl alone in the charred room, the Gryffindor trying not to think about how it is possible the relationship between her and the Black sisters is as charred as everything else in the room.

Chapter Text

Bellatrix made her way through the castle, levitating the body of a child she knew as a baby, silently fuming at the argument she had had with the young Gryffindor woman… her and her sisters supposed soul mate. She knew her sisters would be annoyed with the interaction she had had with Hermione, she just wasn’t sure whose side they would be on. Obviously they were not happy when she decided she was going to be a spy for the Order within the ranks of the Death Eaters, and they definitely were not happy when she began rising in those ranks up to being the second in command of Tom Riddle, Lord Voldemort. The fascination she had as a young child and young woman with the dark arts did come in useful, when she felt herself completely useless and irrelevant to the world. Perhaps a stupid plan, especially as she had spent so much time in Azkaban because of the ruse. Her body was back to normal, having had work on her teeth and her hair fixed and put a decent amount of weight to restore her curvy figure. She was happy with where she was, having a relationship with both of her sisters, a better reputation in the wizarding world and they had found their shared soulmate. Well… said soulmate she had just had an argument with before storming off through the castle. Hermione had made a lot of valid points about the way in which she had chosen to live her life, but mentioning her poor cousin Sirius had crossed a line she did not even know she had.

 

When the man had fallen back into that veil, all she wanted to do was crumple and scream for him exactly like Harry had done. But she knew she couldn’t do that, she had to maintain the facade of being against him because he was a ‘bloodtraitor’ for simply wanting to get away from their horribly toxic family and their stupid ideals. She had traipsed through the ministry childishly singing about killing her favourite cousin, all the while wanting to be sick at the very thought of her juvenile evil behaviour in that moment. What nobody knew is that she returned to the veil that night, and tried all dark spells she knew to try and access the veil and get the man back, to no avail. She would have kept trying had Narcissa not discovered her hunched over sobbing as she tried to recite another spell, just wanting to bring little Siri back to life, hating that she took him away from the world. Narcissa had practically had to force her to eat and care for herself for weeks after that, and Hermione made it seem as though she hadn’t cared about all of the things she had to do as a spy. She was angry and hurt, and feeling very vulnerable after finding Crabbe’s body and the thought of Sirius. The dark witch shook herself off as she approached the doors of the infirmary, not wanting to think about her and Hermione’s argument and interaction, rather thinking of this morning when she awoke with the young Gryffindor in her arms.

 

The doors to the hospital wing open with a flick of her wrist, slowly levitating Vincent through in front of her as she walks solemnly in. Poppy Pomfrey walked out of her office as the body is lowered onto one of the beds in the room, still covered in a sheet. “Bellatrix?! What happened? Who is under the sheet?” She rushes forward tying an apron behind her back with wide eyes, scared about who could have died and due to what.

 

Bellatrix shakes her head “Don’t worry, it’s Vincent Crabbe’s body. Hermione and I went to the Room of Requirement to determine what damage had been done and found him. Lost control of Fiendfyre and killed himself. We will need to contact his family wherever they are and inform them of where he is, and the fact he has died.” The dark witch looks down at the ground and shakes her head “An entire generation ruined because of a war we couldn’t win the first time around… none of them will be the same. They all lost their childhood.” The dark witch looks up at the healer “How did we all let it get this far? How did I let myself go this far?” Tears well up in the spy’s eyes as Poppy gathers her into her arms quickly.

 

“I feel this is about far more than just the war but I will not push. Come lets have some tea in my office.” The healer easily leads the younger woman through the hospital wing and into her office. “Life has not been kind to you Bellatrix Black. Yes you played the character of Bellatrix Lestrange very well, but I always knew you. You were in this infirmary more than out of it it felt, between quidditch and the fights you would get. Everyone blamed the change on Andy running away, but I saw you at Narcissa’s graduation and you looked so very happy when she received the note from her before any others noticed. Your mask flipped back up quickly, but not even Dumbledore could fool me sometimes, so you had no chance.” The older woman explains as she prepares a pot of tea for the two to share “I do not expect you to talk about what has bothered you, it would probably take a very long time to catch me up on the things that bring you sadness every day. I will let you know I am on your side and here for you, but that after calming down enough to not break down or hex anyone that confronts you, you need to find your sisters. They always had a way with calming you that no other person could understand.” She hands Bellatrix a cup of hot tea, smiling softly as she sits down opposite in her own chair preparing another cup for herself to enjoy. The darker witch accepts her tea and sits considering everything they had all been through since she had been a student of the woman opposite.

“It feels like it should have been just yesterday that I was attending here, but so much has happened in that time it is almost too hard to believe. I have made up for some of what Bellatrix Lestrange did… but there is so much more I need to do. For Sirius, in his memory because even after I had started with being Dumbledore’s spy he believed in me and tried to convince me into the Order. And to thank him, I made him fall into the veil and die.” The dark curls of the woman bounce as she shakes her head looking down with tears in her eyes. “My baby cousin, and I couldn’t save him. It was only a stunning spell, sent towards Harry so he wouldn’t get hurt. Then Lucius called Voldemort and it all went wrong, but if the spell hadn't gotten Sirius none of it would have happened the way it did, he just had to be a hero. I obviously had to maintain the image that I had created, I couldn’t mourn him immediately, couldn’t react at all.” The dark witch’s lower lip trembles as all of her previous bottled up emotions finally release since the war had ended as she begins crying in front of the woman who had healed every injury and taught her some of the skills of healing; even though she didn’t have the patience for it like Narcissa did.

Poppy moved closer to the woman, sitting herself down next to her and hugging her close, wishing she could take the pain away that Dumbledore allowed her to go through. Not many people had ever looked past the bravado of the eldest Black sister to see she is not as strong as she projects, she is simply human and feels everything; especially after not being able to convey those feelings for so many years. Whether they had just taken thought from the persona she had created to fit in with the Death Eaters, or simply not cared enough to look past to find the woman beneath that outward demonstration. She realised she could probably count on her hands the number of people that have looked past that and found the person she truly is under the need to protect her sisters and her family, and that included herself. As much as she respected some choices Dumbledore had made in his past, the decisions regarding Bellatrix, Harry Potter and the fight against Voldemort were all things she could never agree with. She returns from her internal deliberations as Bellatrix pulls away from her, walls immediately going up after displaying so much emotion even in front of her friend. “Don’t do that Bellatrix, emotions are a good thing. It has been so long since you were able to be yourself, especially here. You have been unbelievably strong for the last 20 years, allow yourself the time to grieve and feel the things you didn’t. Everything will solve itself, with the rest of the wizarding world and with Hermione and your sisters. She is a very headstrong young woman, who has gone through something similar in regards to all of her choices being taken away; and she is probably just as stubborn as you. So give her some time to process and cool down considering the two of you have likely had a disagreement about something.” Poppy raises her eyebrows at the younger woman with a smile on her face, having figured out the three sisters and Hermione’s relationship, or at least that there was one - she had no idea about the background of soulmates and everything else.

Bellatrix looks at her friend and mentor in complete surprise having thought nobody could read her quite like she just did other than her sisters, a small smile lights up her face at that fact and she nods “Yes we did have an argument, we both should calm down after some of the things that were said. You are a very surprising person Poppy, but thank you for your eternal support through everything, and after everything that has happened over the last few years.” The dark witch smiles at the healer, happy that someone had figured her out outside of her family. “I am so very grateful for all of your support from when I was younger, and continuing from now I hope we can be good friends once again, and differently now I am an adult. But I should go and find my sisters so they can know about the disagreement I had with Hermione this morning and how we should approach her after all of this.” She rubs her forehead with a tired smile, before casting a patronus charm to find her sisters and request they meet her in the Slytherin common room as soon as they can. Bella hugs Poppy as she lets her know to come back whenever she needs a friend, before the younger woman heads out of the hospital wing and down through the castle to the common room in order to meet her sisters.

 

Narcissa and Andromeda had left the Great Hall after breakfast with McGonagall to walk the ground and investigate the state of the wards as they both had experience in wards as Narcissa maintained those around both the Malfoy and Black estates and Andy had some around her home. They had been taught about wards from a young age and wanted to help ensure those around the castle were restored to what they were and even possibly made stronger than they were. The three women had exerted a lot of energy and had only restored a small section of wards after around an hour and a half when the older Scot stopped and called for a house elf for some strong tea and biscuits to attempt to replenish some of the strength and energy they had lost during the complex magic casting. Minerva turned to the other two women as they drank and ate “How have you lassies been coping since the end?” She asks genuinely wanting to build a connection with the intelligent high standing women, wanting to know not for gossip but because she actually cares about the sisters, she has since she first met each of them.

Andromeda sighs softly, having no idea how to actually address the question that had been posed to them, she smirks at the glare sent her way from her aristocratic younger sister in response to her audible sigh. “That is quite a loaded question there Minerva… I don’t think any of us know how we have been coping. I don’t think we have been in all honesty, we have simply been moving through the motions as they come, spending time together and enjoying being reunited once again. I am so relieved that the Bella I always knew has been returned to us, or the closest to her as can be after all of the things she has been through since she began her time as a spy.” Andy looks from Minerva to Narcissa to see some tears in her baby sisters eyes at the way the conversation was going “We haven’t really had any time in order to address everything, so it hasn’t exactly caught up. Sometimes I’ll just catch myself staring at Bella in complete disbelief that she is herself and that she had been a spy for Dumbledore the whole time, the fact she had gone to prison for so many years for something she reversed in two minutes with a simple potion. It is unfathomable, and yet a part of me always knew that something must have happened for my, our, Bella to become the infamous Bellatrix Lestrange.” Both Cissa and Minerva stare at the middle sister in shock of her statement regarding Bellatrix, having not expected that as a response to the simple question of how they had been coping, none of the sisters ever being much for talking about their feelings or outward displays such as that - but they know the war changed them all in very different ways.

Narcissa looks between her sister and the headmistress of Hogwarts “It has been difficult. Between Lucius being surprised and angry at the fact we had always been spies. It isn’t so much for me to have been one, I was simply his trophy wife and Draco’s mother. Bella was involved, obviously, and she protected me from the other Death Eaters because they were scared of her. I am so glad I have now left him and everything is over. Draco is safe and so are we, and we can find our happiness. And I have both of my sisters back now, so in those regards everything has been better. But there are issues too, that we haven’t addressed. Between us and…” She trails off not particularly wanting to explain their relationship with Hermione and how they have been building a connection with her just yet, especially not to her mentor.

Both Black sisters are shocked when Minerva smiles at them “Between you all and a certain Golden Girl?” The Scottish woman smirks at the younger women “I may be old but I am most definitely not blind thank you very much. It would take an idiot to not see the connection between the three of you and Hermione, it is obvious none of you intend to hurt her, and she seems happier and much better rested, regardless of how she has been getting her rest. You all will be good for her, and she will be good for each of you in a number of different ways.” The headmistress smiles happily at the shocked sisters “Cannot believe you thought I wouldn’t notice, I am offended.” The woman laughs and smiles when the two visibly calm down at the acceptance and happiness of the older woman regarding their budding relationship with Hermione.
The three women converse about how the castle is coming back to its original glory, before they go back to doing more work on the wards surrounding the castle. Working together they were able to make much more progress towards completely restoring the wards around the castle, but by lunchtime they all felt their magical cores had depleted more than they had anticipated, thus they decided to be completed for the day and to finish the other half of the protection the following day, when their magic would be back to higher levels. Minerva had a lot of work to do in regards to students being able to return to school in September and have enough space for all those wishing to retake their eighth year would be able to, so she left the sisters outside of the castle looking out across the grounds towards the Forbidden Forest, both wondering how Hermione and Bellatrix have gotten on. Unfortunately their silent hope is crushed when a glowing panther slinks up before them and speaks with their eldest sisters voice requesting their presence; both knowing something must have happened from both her tone and her wanting to meet. The two make eye contact and immediately move to rush inside the castle, hoping their future relationship with the young woman has not been ruined by whatever may have happened between her and Bella that morning.