I solemnly swear that this is tha last time I will be forced to disclaim this story and upset its flow as much as Bellatrix's flight had upset Harry, although that in itself would be an exaggeration, as these seemingly catchy disclaimers have not caused you to pace up and down your house, muttering and shouting one minute and blinking back tears the next.

As Harry soon learned, it was not one of his better ideas to introduce the Order of the Phoenix to phones. Ron and Hermione both had the same response to what he had to say: "Bellatrix is gone? Finally! Thought she'd never leave you alone!" Meanwhile, Tonks and Remus were asking for an explanation of his near-interception of Molly's Killing Curse intended for a Death Eater, and even Mundungus Fletcher, with his telemarketing tactics, attempting to sell Harry inexpensive silver, was not helping the situation.

Days passed by, then weeks, and Harry would continually steal glances out the window to watch for any sign of Bellatrix. Mrs. Black's fits of screaming took a backseat to his own occasional outbursts, and even Hedwig and Kreacher seemed mildly disturbed. He imagined he felt as Bellatrix had after her relapse--struggling to let go of something. Taking a leaf out of her book, an expression here meaning 'to imitate or follow one's example', he began to question his feelings on parchment, and, when he ran out, toilet paper, scraps of the Daily Prophet, and the walls. He would lie on the sofa and stare into space for hours on end, thinking, wondering if and how Bellatrix was surviving, worrying for her, questioning himself, and drifting into nightmares. The only certain thing was that Harry was a victim of more than his fair share of irony: he had finally eradicated Bellatrix, just when he'd realized he couldn't live without her, as confirmed by the various scraps of literature he'd written and strewn about the property.

However victimized by irony Harry happens to be in this particular contorted rendition of fact, it is also a commonly known fact of his universe that he is befallen by a substantial, or as some consider it, an unreasonable amount of luck, so it is reasonable to assume that circumstances will eventually play out to his favor. Sure enough, a knock on the door sounded, waking Mrs. Black and startling Harry out of a contemplative trance.

If Harry had bothered to ask who it was, he might not have opened the door, as he never would have thought that Mundungus Fletcher on his doorstep would be a good sign, but, as he halfheartedly flung the door open, he was overjoyed to see Mundungus, with half of his face covered in bruises, his clothing torn, restraining a struggling Bellatrix with much difficulty. Bellatrix struggled against his grip, her own damaged clothing, weathered frame, and sleepless expression making her barely recognisable, though she was clearly just as irritable as before. "This yers?" Mundungus grunted, thrusting Bellatrix over the threshhold and into Harry's arms. He embraced her warmly, while Mundungus, being unfazed by the emotional moment, went on to explain his troubles. "She's been terrorizing the park for days, scared all the Muggles off. I haven't been able to sell anything."

"Bella, you're shaking," Harry whispered, ignoring Mundungus and noticing Bellatrix's instability on her feet.

"I must have had fifteen coffees," she muttered, her voice trembling.

"Nearly blew apart the coffee shop," Mundungus added. "Went totally bezerk when she saw me, she did. Shot this big silver stag at me--"

"Stag?" Harry repeated, looking up at Bella. Her Patronus had changed form? Had it changed for him?

"With good reason. He's been nicking Black family heirlooms," Bellatrix accused with a note of hostility.

"Oh yeah? That don't explain why yeh nearly tore me apart on the way here," he snapped, stepping back to avoid any curses that might result from his statement.

"I thought you were turning me in to the Ministry," Bellatrix muttered.

"Nah, I'm a bit of a wanted man meself," Mundungus explained. "Stolen cauldrons. And I could hardly deposit her to the Death Eaters, so I couldn't think of anywhere to put her then with you." Bellatrix was still glaring daggers at him, while Harry, thinking that it might please her, grabbed some artifacts out of his pockets as he turned to leave. "Bye then."

Bellatrix grabbed hold of the door and slammed it as hard as she could before any more words could be explained. "He was nicking your stuff," she pointed out, still not quite able to support herself. Harry was overcome with worry, and though he wanted to show her the silverware and heavy, emerald-encrusted locket that he had reclaimed, he needed to tend to her first.

"Have you been living on the streets all this time?" he asked, leading her to the sofa and wincing at her small grunts of discomfort.

She gave him a penatrating, sad look more powerful than her Cruciatus Curse as she sat down and huddled under a throw blanket. "I didn't think you'd care what I did," she said. "I wanted to take over the Death Eaters, but not if it made you sad."

"So you just left? Bella, I was worried about you! I'm still worried about you!" As if to emphasize his point, the color drained from his face as Bellatrix nearly fell off the couch, he pushed her back on and frantically headed to the kitchen. "You stay there, I'll get you something to eat."

Bellatrix wasn't exactly sure what to think as Harry gave her assistance, but she was grateful for the greeting, which was much warmer than the first time she'd turned up in 12 Grimmauld Place, although she was partially to blame for his unwillingness to welcom her that time. Surveying her surroundings, she noticed that the house had become rather disorderly in her abscence. Her eyes rested on the scrawling of sentences in ink contrasting the wallpaper. "Wall writing," she observed, "How nice."

As she read over the words, it was more like she was drinking them in, and by the time Harry had returned with some soup and a distracting issue of The Quibbler, Bellatrix knew that a chapter of Harry's life and her own was coming to a close and a new one was beginning. She knew, and was rather thankful, that she could retain her lust for power while pursuing even greater ends, and, however implausible as everything else that has reached your eyes if you have been reading for this long, a small chapter of her complicated life had been resolved.

Bellatrix Lestrange is not your average houseguest. In fact, she isn't exaclty the average offender of the crime of breaking and entering, either. She is powermad, unpredictable, and, to put it simply, rather scary. But this is just Bellatrix at first, the one that leaves the scarring first impression, and, ironically, the one that doesn't matter in comparison to the rest of her personality.

The real Bellatrix Lestrange, I have learned, has a knack for teaching the Dark Arts, if she does go a bit overboard with the Cruciatus Curse. In accordance with her first impression, she loves nothing but power and the Dark Lord, but the real Bellatrix, the one deep inside that, with patience and a bit of snooping, can be reached, also had Sirius Black. Her love of the Torture Curse grew out of an inside joke, as it turns out, that the two of them shared. Once upon a time, she didn't mind Muggles so much, so long as her lover was right there by her side, helping her tolerate them. She has a way of doing the unexpected, even on accident, which would be unexpected anyway, although in her case, it's more extreme, as I've witnessed firsthand when she relapsed into her Death Eater phase.

Phase. Is that even possible? No one stops being a Death Eater, she told me herself. Somehow, though, I have a feeling that's exactly what she's done. At least, I hope so, as every time I've watched Voldemort hurt her, I'm a little hurt as well.

She fights exactly like her cousin, I've noticed. She laughed too soon. I had to save her life, and even still, she's bent on world domination, or something to that effect. I've never quite understood that part of her, but it's the other part, the side of her that grieves for Sirius and knows how to recieve affection, that's worth reaching out to, even if it means getting a side order of insanity.

I suppose whet I'm trying to ask myself is, can I let her carry out her crazy plans? If I ran into her again could I pursue her, knowing there's nothing I could do to change her or make her switch sides? And would this put the world in jeopardy, if and when her rampage of city-burning and conquest I've been dreading becomes reality? They say that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. After hours of contemplation, I've come to the same conclusion over and over again: the needs of the world will have to wait, because I'm in love with Bellatrix Lestrange.

Bellatrix picked up the spoon Harry had put in front of her, reluctant to take her eyes off the wall. "Given a chioce between me and the world, you would choose me?" she asked, astonished and feeling warmed inside.

"Crucio will do that to a person," Harry joked. The both of them giggled.

"Well than, will I see you for training bright and early tomorrow, Lieutenant?" she asked with a smile.

"I wouldn't take it that far," Harry said, curling up next to her on the couch. For once, he wasn't thinking of those people in the park or coffee chop, repremanding Bellatrix for just being who she was, and trying to play the hero. He only thought of her beside him, her warm and accepting smile, glad she'd come back and he'd gotten a second chance. He shared his own, private world with her within the confines of 12 Grimmauld Place, finally able, at least for the moment, to shut out the troublesome one outside. For the time being, all was well.