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Another long gap... review more, dammit!

Chapter Twelve

"How the fuck did I get here again!"

Snape jerked back into consciousness to find himself sat on a hard chair in the hospital wing beside a very awake and very pissed off Bellatrix.

"You passed out in Hogsmeade," he supplied, stretching skyward and elbowing Narcissa, who was lying beside him, "Lucius and I carried you back and Madame Pomfrey was already at the gates rescuing Professor Flitwick from a nasty Confundus charm courtesy of the Marauders.

She stared at him for a moment, taking all of this in and struggling to sit up straight. "So what did the old bat say? Or has she curled up on the ceiling for the night?"

"She's asleep and just told us to not let you leave."

Snape couldn't help but grin at the expression on Bellatrix' face. The girl looked desperately down at herself and discovered with a sigh of relief that she was fully robed and the Matron, however keen to keep her immobile, hadn't used some binding spell on her.

Bella began to swing her legs over the side of the bed, pausing when Snape held her back firmly. "What? Gerrof me Severus - I'm fine now!"

"She threatened fifty points from Slytherin if we let you get away." Narcissa yawned. "So you can stay put until she says you're free to leave and that's that."

Bellatrix glowered at her as though to say 'I'd like to see you try and make me', but Narcissa glared back so defiantly that she reluctantly sat back again.

Snape let go of her arm and sat heavily against the hard back of his chair. He could always have gone back to the common room with Maxine and Lucius, but he figured that Narcissa would want some company and he didn't want to leave Bella alone anyway. No doubt she'd run off again and get herself in deeper trouble.

"Go wake the old bat up, Cissa," Bellatrix whined, swinging her legs onto Snape's knees and resting them there, crossed comfortably. Her sister arched an eyebrow but remained silent, rising and hurrying to the other end of the infirmary and into Pomfrey's office. "God... c'mon then, lets go Sev."

"Oh no, don't think you're pulling that on me. We can stay here til Pomfrey clears you." Snape said, half expecting her to arch an eyebrow and dub him a cowardly Hufflepuff. She didn't. After a brief pause in which she looked at him appraisingly, she sat back again and pulled a face.

"Yeah, I s'pose you're right... don't want to pass out again in Hogsmeade. Ruins your weekend." She sighed, looking across the room at the advancing Matron. "Oh Merlin; she doesn't look happy..."

"Awake at last, are we? You know; you're lucky to be alive young lady, what with your recent act of rebellism." Pomfrey snapped, causing both Snape and Narcissa to snort involuntarily.

"Huh?" Bella asked, staring in half amusement and half confusion at Snape.

"She said you're trying to be a rebel by running away from the Infirmary," he explained, still chuckling lightly at Pomfrey's word choice and the fact that Bellatrix didn't understand a word of it.

"Yes, so don't think you're pulling another stunt like that. You'll be in here until morning, and then you can go back to your common room if I think you're fit enough," the Matron ordered sharply, peering into Bellatrix' eyes in turn. Snape watched her with barely concealed interest.

"Why are you doing that?" he managed to ask after a while.

"To check if her pupils are dilated..."

Pomfrey didn't supply any other answer and all Bella could do was shrug in his general direction. Snape sat back and bit his lip, allowing his mind to wonder as it usually did when he had little or nothing to do and wasn't likely to be under a Marauder attack anytime soon.

He could just imagine the look on Harley's face if he ever found out that Snape was no longer a greasy Slytherin low-life; that he was now friends with the Black sisters, the pureblood girls every mother wanted for her sons... Harley himself had always mildly hated Miranda for being muggleborn and preventing him the credit he 'deserved' in the wizarding community, but it had never bothered Severus that much. To him it didn't matter what your blood type; if you were skilled in the Dark Arts then you were far better than any pureblood dunderhead.

Of course, he still held the same contempt as anyone else for muggleborns. It was in the Slytherin blood; to be sorted into the house you couldn't be a muggle sympathizer like Andromeda or Sirius, you had to have pride.

"Ow! Watch where you're sticking that needle you stupid idiot!"

Bellatrix's yell jerked him back into reality and wiped the smug feeling at Harley's expression into the back of his mind. She was sat clutching her arm and glaring murderously at the Matron.

"Miss Black, you are being completely ridiculous - the-"

Before Pomfrey could finish her lecture the Infirmary doors were swung open and two sets of people hurried in, supporting two students amongst them. The Matron hurried across to them and Snape altered his position to give him a better view of the new residents and their friends; from what he could tell it was two groups of Gryffindors and Ravenclaws.

"Son of a-" Bellatrix muttered. Snape followed her gaze to the two unconscious students and found a slow grin spreading across his pallid face as he managed to identify them.

It was Sirius and Andromeda; both unconscious and both looking rather green in the face.

"Oh Merlin... what the hell happened to them!" Narcissa murmured, scrunching up her eyes and fidgeting to get a better view. "Do you think Andromeda's hurt?"

"We can only hope, Ciss..." Bella said lazily, watching as Pomfrey ordered Sirius into the bed opposite her own. Andromeda was navigated to their right and set onto the white sheets, her friends looking both exhausted and worried.

"Can we stay with her?" one of Andromeda's gang asked.

"Well..." Pomfrey began, but Bellatrix spoke up angrily.

"Oi, Pomfrey! There's no way in hell I'll ever get rested up if they're in here, so tell them to bugger off back to the Ravenclaw common room."

The Ravenclaws glowered at her but apparently didn't dare argue. Snape could have laughed at how torn Pomfrey looked; she couldn't just order them out because he and Narcissa were with Bellatrix and it would be unfair, but she also knew what a fuss Bella would make if they stayed...

"Well... just one or two of you can stay... same goes for you!" the Matron called to the Gryffindors. "Only one or two can stay; the rest can visit tomorrow."

"Arse." Bella cursed.

"Target practise." Snape corrected, happy to find a smile spreading over her face at his words.

All but two Ravenclaws, James Potter and Remus Lupin reluctantly left the Infirmary, casting annoyed looks back at Bellatrix as they went. Snape smirked as the doors swung shut again.

"So what's up with them?" he called to the Matron, who was bent over Andromeda.

"I don't think that's any of your concern, Mr Snape..." Pomfrey replied coolly.

"Actually, that one's my sister and he's my cousin, so I think you'll find it is our business. What's wrong with them?" Narcissa demanded icily.

Pomfrey glared at her but didn't argue. "Someone has hexed the two of them unconscious, that's all. They will get a good night's sleep at worst and wake up in the morning. And I'm warning you, if any fights break out in my Infirmary then all three of your houses will pay."

And with that she swept back into her office, something that would have been more impressive had she not been wearing a dressing gown and slippers. Snape arched an eyebrow.

"God, she is so weird..." Bella muttered. "Oi!"

The Ravenclaws looked over suspiciously and one, a butch girl with blonde hair, replied in what she seemed to think was a defiant voice; "What!"

"Who hexed them?"

"Some Slytherin with black hair. That girl you hang around with..." the Ravenclaw shrugged. Snape turned, grinning, back to Bellatrix; the black-haired girl would be Maxine.

"Ha; maybe I won't turn her into a yak again..."

End of Chapter 12

A/N: Okay, I HATE HATE HATE this chapter, but I've gotta get it up anyways so forgive and review...

Coming up...

Snape gets initiated into the Death Eaters, which impresses Bella to no end; Andromeda gets into a fight with Narcissa, and Rodolphus doesn't like Bellatrix hanging around with Snape...