Hermione jolted awake hearing a ticking sound at the window.
She rubbed her eyes and tied her hair into a messy bun. She got out of bed and headed over to open the window for Hector.
"Hey young man, back already? Did you find her?" the owl raised his claw to which was tied a crumpled piece of parchment.
Hermione untied the parchment and frowned at it. Could this be Bellatrix's answer? Impossible, she thought, Hector couldn't have found it so easily.
She petted the owl's head and opened the note. She immediately saw bloodstains and her anxiety rose. Was she hurt? Did she need her help?
I'm so sorry.
Let me explain, please.
I'm at Black Manor.
Come meet me, today.
I'll wait for you.
Hermione's heart missed a beat. She was alive. Bella was alive.
She let the tears roll down her face and clutched the parchment to her chest.
Her Bella was alive. At that moment it was all she needed.
She grabbed her wand and headed for the bathroom. She took a quick shower, dressed and fixed her hair.
She tucked her wand into her pants, collected her purse and apparated outside the gates of Black Manor.
She tried to visualize her in her mind.
Bella, it's me.
Hermione felt a shiver run down her spine.
Let me in, please. I know you're hurt.
The gates opened and the Gryffindor ran up to the main doors that were already unlocked.
"Bella!" she shouted as she walked down the dark corridors of the manor.
"Bella, please, where are you?"
H-hermione, I'm in my bedroom.
The girl ran up the stairs and tried to remember which room was Bellatrix's, once she found it she didn't hesitate and rushed inside.
She couldn't believe what was in front of her.
Bellatrix was lying on the bed in a pool of blood, and she was holding her side, where presumably the most serious wound was located.
"Oh Merlin, Bella..." whispered Hermione with tears in her eyes. "Who did this to you?"
"Pet..." a faint, barely audible whisper came from the woman's lips. "Don't look at me like that. You weren't...supposed to see me like this...ugh.." she grunted in pain.
Hermione quickly reached over and placed a hand on Bellatrix's. "Don't talk. I'm going to heal you. I promise." she wiped away her tears. "I'm here now. I'm not going anywhere." She kissed her on the lips.
Okay, Hermione focus, you need to remember the spells.
"I- You need blood. You lost too much blood."
Merlin, I don't know what to do. Think, Hermione, think.
She made some bandages and water appear on the nightstand next to the bed. She soaked the bandages in the water and squeezed them.
"You need to remove your hands now, Bella." She stroked the witch's face to reassure her.
Bellatrix slowly lifted her hands from the wound that started bleeding again. She let out a groan of pain. "Hurry up, pet."
Hermione wasted no time and covered the wound with a bandage. "Your clothes are getting in my way. I have to swab the wound. I can't do that with your clothes in my way." The Gryffindor began to breathe heavily and her hands began to shake.
"Hermione..." whispered Bella. "Look at me, pet." She lifted her chin with one hand, not caring about the blood. "It's okay. You can do it. Just breathe." She mocked a smile, as much as the stabbing pain in her body would allow.
The young witch took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. She ran her bloodstained hands over her face and cursed when she realized it.
She made Bellatrix's clothes disappear and had to lean against the nightstand to keep from falling. Bella's body was covered by several deep cuts and many bruises.
She remembered having to swab the wound. "Fuck, Bella. I'm so sorry."
She tried to stop the bleeding as best she could and muttered a few spells to make it heal faster. She wrapped her side and moved on to the other wounds.
"He found out..." whispered Bella suddenly. "He found out and he punished me. He was so angry."
"D-did... did y-"
"No! How could..? No!" Bellatrix laid a hand on her cheek. "I denied everything. I love you, pet. I wouldn't do anything to put you in danger."
"B-but he t-tortured you.." Hermione suddenly burst into tears. "I thought... I thought you were dead, for fuck sake. You know how much you scared me?"
The raven-haired witch lowered her gaze. "I was unconscious. A soon as I woke up, I tried to find a way to contact you. And then Hector showed up." She tried to turn toward the Gryffindor and suppressed a groan of pain. "I'm so sorry, pet. All I wanted was to protect you. He's dead now, right? We'll find a way to love each other."
The curly-haired young woman wrapped Bellatrix in an emotion-filled embrace. "I missed you. I miss you so bad, Bella."
"I'm here now. I will be okay. I just need a few days to heal and then we can figure out someting. Don't worry, hot stuff. You can't get rid of me so easly." the older witch chuckled, but she regretted it immediately because she was pervaded by a coughing fit.
"Bella! Be careful, you can hurt yoursefl." Hermione scolded her.
"Yes yes yes, pet. I'll try to be more careful." Bellatrix kissed her temple. "I'm still naked, hot stuff. It's getting a bit cold."
"Oh, gods. Sorry. Let me summon some clotes." with a flick of her wrist, the Gryffindor made comfortable clothes appear on the former Death Eater's body. "Her you go, love. Can I cuddle you? Only if it doesn't bother you, of course." she then asked her with a shy smile.
"Oh come on, hot stuff." the raven-haired with laughed. "You know it doesn't bother me. Come here." she opened her arms for the girl.
Hermione didn't make her say it twice and slunk into the hug, trying not to hurt the woman. Bellatrix began to stroke her hair gently and relaxed into her arms.
After a few minutes both witches fell asleep exhausted, wrapped in the warmth of the embrace.