"Shut the fuck up, Yaxley."
Yaxley didn't look affronted, but stopped whistling nevertheless. Coarse language wasn't exactly going to offend his delicate ears and besides, Hermione wasn't one to be challenged, especially not when she was already in such a volatile mood. Dolohov raised an eyebrow to himself but Bellatrix didn't show emotion either way, just continued to stare considerately into the middle distance, leaning casually against the wall opposite Hermione.
They had been patiently waiting in this dark, decrepit alleyway for over half an hour. It opened onto a narrow road lined with terraced muggle houses, but was at such an angle that the streetlights didn't expose them. The two witches were closest to the alley's opening, Hermione on the left watching the right of the street and Bellatrix on the right watching the left of the street. Yaxley and Dolohov lurked behind, almost completely hidden by the night's shadows.
Absent of Yaxley's creepy, patchy whistling the four stood in silence. Hermione was abnormally tense considering this was a basic ambush mission. Bellatrix glanced impassively at her lover every so often; perhaps she had noticed, too. However, whether she had or not, she didn't seem to see cause for concern and so the wizards behind followed her lead. Bellatrix was, after all, the only witch who knew Hermione well enough to accurately judge.
The older witch spoke for the first time since they had left Malfoy manor. "I see them." She hissed, looking meaningfully down to the end of the street which she could see.
Taking her eyes away from the unchanging scenery which sprawled over Bellatrix's shoulder, Hermione instead peered around the same wall she had her back pressed to, scanning Bellatrix's half of the street for the Order members they were meant to be accosting. She saw them, right at the end of the street walking hastily towards them. Bellatrix moved silently to the other wall, tucking in behind Hermione so as to take advantage of the blind corner when the figures got close enough. Antonin and Yaxley followed suit.
Hermione turned to them. "Let them pass by. There's two of them, four of us. Bella and I will incapacitate them- you two," She said, motioning to the two wizards, "Stay back and out of sight- if and only if anything goes wrong or they wont go down quietly, you can step in and help, clear?"
Both wizards nodded agreement.
"Absolute silence." Hermione hissed quietly, her eyes threatening murder but never once landing on Bellatrix to indicate she was included in the threat. "Not a single peep from either of you. If that means you have to stop breathing, then so be it."
That earned a smirk from Bellatrix. Hermione was often harsh with both of the male death eaters, but in reality she didn't mind either of them- they certainly weren't the worst people she had to put up with, anyhow.
A few more seconds went by before the wind carried the voices to them. Hushed and quick, Hermione deduced two males and pulled her wand from her sleeve as they approached. The four stilled themselves completely and too caught up in the urgency of their conversation, the men passed their hiding spot completely oblivious. Hermione moved first, and Bellatrix followed her fluidly, emerging into the sickly orange light with their wands drawn. Yaxley and Dolohov obediently stayed put apart from moving to take the women's recently vacated spaces to keep an eye on the fight. It wasn't much of a fight. The Order members went down in an instant with two bright flashes and were quickly dragged back into the shadows and out of sight of any muggles who might be peeking around curtains.
Yet Hermione still looked tense.
"This one doesn't know anything." Bellatrix concluded, drawing sharply from the younger man's mind in annoyance. A simple flick of Hermione's wand and he slumped over, dead. His friend, twenty years his now dead partner's senior, recoiled in terror as he came back to his senses, trying to push himself backwards and away from the death eaters with the heels of his feet.
Hermione pushed her wand up her sleeve and crouched down in front of the man, who had started to hyperventilate quite unattractively. Much to her company's unease, she smiled at him.
"But you do." She said, almost cheerfully.
He spluttered and began stuttering denials, waving his hands manically as if trying to placate her. She held a hand up for silence and whilst looking down, gave a strange smile as if she were trying to think how to put something delicately. Bellatrix was now watching Hermione closely, which made the two remaining death eaters shift nervously. It was not unheard of for Hermione to flip out and hex everything that moved, friend or foe. Except Bellatrix- despite the amount of time the two witches spent together, the older witch had never found herself on the wrong end of the girl's wand. This was widely regarded as a good thing, since Bellatrix was the only one brave enough- or crazy enough, depending on who you asked- to restrain Hermione when she started to blow things up, or burn things down. Whoever you asked, they'd all agree that in the event of Bellatrix becoming so much as temporarily incapacitated, nobody would be safe in their beds.
"I'm only going to say this once." Hermione said steadily. "Where is Harry Potter?"
"I don't know, I swear I don't know! Please- please don't kill me, I- I have a family! A little girl! Please-"
Hermione's smile widened. "What's your girl's name?" She asked conversationally.
"Christ.." Yaxley muttered under his breath.
"Her- her names Maria-"
"Oh, Maria," Hermione repeated, standing back up and pacing a few steps around. "That's a beautiful name- tell me," she said frowning a little, as if she'd heard something unusual. "Do you want little Maria to burn in her bed?"
The auror paled and sweat was starting to pour down his jaundiced, pallid face in rivulets. "No no, no- not my daughter, please! She's only seven!" He was breathless now.
Hermione tilted her head slightly, her dark eyes boring into their target and Bellatrix moved to stand closely behind her lover. "Then I'd comply."
Seeing both witches bearing down on him, the auror cracked. "He's, he's on the run, with Weasely, somewhere in Scotland," He pleaded desperately, "That's all we know- the Order can't pin them down they keep moving, I swear!"
Hermione considered him for a long while. Without taking her eyes from the auror before her, she reached her right arm over behind her right shoulder and with some strange accuracy drew Bellatrix's knife from the side of her cleavage. Antonin clicked his jaw shut loudly when Bellatrix caught him staring.
"And what are they doing in Scotland?" Hermione asked lowly.
The man stared at the knife in the witches hands and his adams apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed hard. "I don't know, they're running, they're wanted-"
Hermione didn't appreciate the lies. She started towards the man with the blade clutched tightly and Bellatrix allowed her to go- she could see what was going to happen and she might as well let Hermione get it out of her system.
The man pushed himself backwards a little further and ended up flat on his back when his palm slipped on the gravel. Hermione crouched down again beside the auror's chest and twirled the knife between her fingers. Yaxley grinned grimly at Dolohov waiting to see what was to come.
"What are they doing in Scotland?" They young witch shouted, making all but Bellatrix flinch.
The auror looked even more panic stricken than before. "I don't know, I-"
Hermione let out a yell of frustration and in a second, the knife was plunged into the aurors throat. He made a strangled, gurgling sound and his whole body jerked, spraying blood.
"Damn, girl." Antonin side stepped lithely before the blood covered his shoe.
Hermione yanked the knife out and stalked back to Bellatrix to return it to its owner.
"Thank you so much, my love." The older witch murmured with light sarcasm, taking the bloody dagger and swiping it through the air viciously to shake the majority of the blood from it.
"So, they're in Scotland." Yaxley surmised.
"They're hunting the Horcrux's. Legilimency comes in handy sometimes." Bellatrix said, storing her dagger in her sleeve and placing a firm hand on the small of Hermione's back as the brunette turned her attention back to the dead men in case she was planning on starting a fire.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. "Then we must gather them back before they can find them."
There was a general mutter of agreement.
"Let's get out of this stinking muggle alley." Yaxley suggested gruffly, looking up to the sky. "It's going to rain."
Hermione stepped back against Bellatrix and with a loud crack they disapperated together, whilst Yaxley and Antonin left separately, the Order members left to be found hours later.
Leaving the men to report back to their lord, Bellatrix took Hermione home. Black Manor was otherwise empty save for the house elves which was exactly how both women preferred it.
"Well. That was… interesting." Bellatrix said once the two witches arrived at the manor's huge front doors. "Any less worked up now?"
Hermione slipped past the older witch as she held the door open for her and into the main entrance of the house.
"I wasn't worked up." Hermione protested.
Bellatrix took her dagger back out from her sleeve as the started up the stairs side by side. "Look at the state of my knife." She said, accusingly but unable to keep the smirk from her lips. "It's covered in blood- you have a wand, you know."
Hermione shrugged. "Knives are more fun." She said defensively.
Bellatrix gave her a look as she opened the door to their room. "If I didn't think you were perfect I'd probably be concerned about you sometimes."
Hermione just looked disconcertingly pleased with herself.
Bellatrix sighed as she saw the clock. "That's two nights in a row we've seen three am." She said playfully.
Hermione smiled as she unbuttoned her blouse and threw it on the floor. She saw no point in doing the job that they already had elves for and besides, every atom of her shared four-poster bed was demanding her presence. She collapsed into it and contentedly watched Bellatrix finish undressing before she joined her partner, laying down beside her and wrapping an arm around her waist protectively.
Hermione might be a volatile murderer, but Bellatrix loved her.