A.N. Writing's hard at the moment, especially the happier stuff - so I thought that I'd have a bash at this story again. Sorry about the delay.
Hermione couldn't sleep, it was more than simple insomnia. The very presence of Bellatrix Lestrange in the safe house hung heavily in the air in a way that was eerily familiar – reminiscent of a horcrux. She had left Minerva thrashing around in a tangle of sheets and her feet led without thought to the cooler air seeping from underneath the cellar door. There was something primal within her that wanted to see the Death Eater dead, knowing that Minerva's plan could gain them useful intelligence but would almost certainly risk the life of the woman that she loved.
It was an urge that shocked the peace loving witch to her core and she had to grab the doorframe for support. She knew that the last year had changed her personality, that she was a lot tougher than she had been but until that moment she had not realised that she had developed a streak of ruthlessness. It was partly due to her body's instinctive response to the changes that Minerva was going through – the urge to protect or if she was completely truthful to tear apart anything that threatened her mate was overwhelming.
Hermione began to tremble and she spun on her heel practically running back to the bedroom. Minerva had stilled somewhat, curled into a ball underneath the covers but her sleep was apparently anything but peaceful. She was clutching her stomach as though she was in pain and was making whimpering noises. The younger witch sat next to her and began to caress the older woman's hair.
"Minerva... Wake up."
"You were having a bad dream." Hermione continued to stroke the ebony tresses.
"That's ok. How do you feel?"
Minerva frowned as she thought hard about the answer, "Conflicted."
"You are too Hermione, I can see it in your eyes."
A sigh, "I just realised that the better part of my nature is warring with... something else... something new."
"Exactly how much is my transformation affecting you?"
"Greatly." The single word was short. "I want to protect you. It's more than a want, more than a need, it's a compulsion."
There was silence for a few minutes. "I know that my plan is risky Hermione but I cannot completely give up on Bellatrix and if I can save her I will."
"You know that I will support you Minerva but if it comes to a choice of killing her or loosing you..." There was a growl running through the younger woman's words that made the animal part of Minerva rejoice, even while the human part loathed their necessity.
"Yes Minerva I will do what you ask." The former professor was surprised as she looked at the very quiet Death Eater. "I will betray my compatriots in exchange for the possibility that you are offering me."
Minerva nodded, concealing her pleasure at the outcome.
Bellatrix spat out her next words with venom, "So why don't you get your little girlfriend in here to take notes."
"Where is His powerbase?"
The Death Eater went on to describe the architectural changes that had happened at the Ministry and the fact that while others provided the pretty public face – He was most definitely in charge. He sat on a throne in the bowels of the building ruling over everything with an iron fist but only his followers were aware of that. The Auror Department was now responsible for putting down dissent but there was little of it occurring. The few muggleborns who had not fled were now regretting it. There was widespread suffering because the Death Eaters had not cared about restoring normal public services when they began to reconstruct the government. Healthcare was reserved only for His followers and even education was non-existent unless conducted at home. Interrogation and torture had become commonplace. Assets and property of anyone even suspected of being a rebel were seized.
Much of this information Minerva and Hermione had already ascertained by talking to the newer members of the resistance. She was more interested in the size and location of Voldemorts forces. The answers that she got both shocked and dismayed them. Things had grown worse than they had dreamed. Voldemort was positioned to start taking over Europe and if they did not stop him now, he would become unstoppable.
Bellatrix spoke until the daylight faded and her voice grew hoarse. Hermione wrote down every word, knowing that even the off-colour jokes could contain clues that they would need later. Eventually the Death Eater fell silent but only for a moment. "You'd be better off killing me."
Minerva nodded, "Probably."
"You've killed before."
"Yes in battle."
"But you aren't sure that you can kill in cold blood?"
The older witch frowned, allowing her animal side to speak to her. "I could if I had to."
"Not that I want to die."
"I gave you my word Bellatrix and I will keep it." Hermione noticed that Minerva's hand was shaking as the older woman pointed her wand at the Death Eater's head. There was a brief pause before she whispered "Obliviate."
Memory charms were not the older woman's forte but she was still capable enough to erase the entirety of Bellatrix's memory. She also gave the Death Eater the ability to speak fluent Greek whilst removing her knowledge of English, thus ensuring that the witch would not be likely to find her way back to Britain. There was another pause and Minerva uttered a spell that she had only ever seen written down, it was one that was rarely even used anymore – it would permanently bind the Death Eaters magic, making even accidental usage impossible.
Hermione watched as a blinding purple light erupted from Minerva's wand and swirled around Bellatrix. It left the Death Eater unconscious and slumped in her chair. Moments later the two women grasped her and apparated the unconscious former witch away to her new place of exile.
A few days later
The warding around the tents was complete; it covered almost half an acre and surrounded almost thirty temporary dwellings. Hermione had warded their tent initially and added her considerable magic to the larger spell that was encircling the entire camp.
Minerva strolled over to her young lover and leaned in, brushing her own lips about the soft ones of her mate. "Did you remember to cast a silencing charm on our tent?"
Hermione's lip quirked into a saucy grin, "Yes of course I did."
"Shall we test it?"
"We have an early start in the morning Minerva." The young woman spoke slowly, they had planned their raid on the Ministry for the following morning.
"Well I know that but right now I do not care. I will make sure that you get an early night." Hermione gave another smirk and allowed herself to be pulled into the tent.
Like the one that she had spent the better part of a year living in, this tent was huge – consisting of a living area, kitchen and a large bedroom with a fully working en-suite. She barely had time to glance around before the older woman's lips came down on her own again in a passionate kiss.
The younger witch returned the kiss with vigour but gave a yelp when she found herself lifted up and carried over to the sofa. Minerva's hand slid between Hermione's legs and began to rub at the fabric at the juncture of her thighs.
"Need you." The two words were growled and gold eyes with elongated pupils stared intently into darkened chocolate. "And right now 'Mione I can't control it. I need you so badly that it hurts. Divesto."
Hermione yelped again as she felt the cool air on her bare skin. Midway through the exclamation it turned into a moan when Minerva's fingers grazed her inner thigh and rapidly made their way into her folds. "What are you doing to me?"
"Oh I think you know exactly what I am doing to you... and what I am about to do..." A single finger slipped over a sensitive nub and began to massage it into arousal. The fully dressed witch knelt in front of the sofa and began to retrace the path of her hand with her lips.
A nimble tongue lapped at the tender flesh and made its way towards Hermione's rapidly heating centre. After a moment it replaced Minerva's finger and the younger witch threw her head back in response. The last few months had taught the older woman exactly what would drive her mate crazy and she put that information to good use now.
Hermione began to whimper with desire and bucked her hips up into Minerva's touch. She spread her legs wider inviting her lovers caress. The older woman gave a chuckle and slid her fingers to Hermione's entrance. "Mine."
"Yours." After the response Minerva slipped two fingers into her mates wanting centre and after a few thrusts she added a third. The sensation evoked a high-pitched cry from Hermione's throat and the naked young witch began to writhe around in ecstasy. She was not the shy virgin that she had once been and began to plead aloud for the things that she needed. Things that Minerva was only too happy to give her.
The following afternoon
Hermione dodged behind a wall, knowing that Minerva was only a split second behind her. Simultaneously they cast fire spells underneath the magical smoke detectors but as soon as the fire control systems kicked in the blazes were extinguished. Both witches regrouped and shot progressively stronger incantations into the lobby.
"It's no use Hermione, we need to retreat."
"We won't get another chance at this."
"The only spell left is living flame. You know what that can do, I will not cast that in a room full of innocents."
Hermione gritted her teeth and slid her wand into a pocket. She raised her hand in an unconscious, instinctive gesture. Suddenly a wall of fire erupted in front of them, it was a roiling mass of flames in an odd yellowish gold colour. The flames licked at the ceiling as though someone had poured accelerant on them.
Minerva's claws dug into the marble flooring in something like sheer terror. Hair rose on the back of her neck and under her clothing. Even when she realised that they were in no immediate danger her body was still poised, ready for attack or flight. It was then that the magical suppression system realised that it could not cope and the evacuation alarm sounded.
People began to rush around the fire, not realising that the flames did not hurt any of them, nor did the smoke choke them. Hermione began to push it deeper into the building, knowing that Voldemort's followers would only evacuate when it seemed hopeless. Like liquid the flames rolled down the stairs leaving the magical elevators clear.
The rest of the assault team finally arrived behind them, ready to help cast the fire spells but found that their assistance was not required. "What spell is she doing? Is that even a charm?"
Minerva snorted, "You never believed us about the capability of the old magicks. Well here is your proof." While she would never have admitted it, she had absolutely no idea what spell Hermione was doing and doubted that her mate even knew. From her understanding the younger witch concentrated on what she wanted to achieve rather than on any particular incantation. It was that which made her so powerful and inherently dangerous.
"She is amazing."
"She. is. Mine!" Sharp canine teeth glinted in the firelight.
"Not disputing that. You're both bloody scary these days."
"Good. Now spread out. You know what to do."
A huge number of spells, incantations and magical items were scattered around the Ministry that evening. Everything from the new and improved Weasley swamp, through to magical stink bombs. The aim was to make the Ministry uninhabitable for months to come. Without the civilised face of the magical government behind him, Voldemort would be less believable and more people would flock to their banner.
At least that was the hope.