Chapter 6

The sky had turned a dark shade of grey, thick clouds were forming and heavy rain drops made their way to the ground, creating a sound that the dark witch had always found comforting. But not tonight. She was standing next to the window, her nose almost touching it, her eyes fixed on the mountains in the distance. Her breathing created a mist and she drew a pattern with her finger absentmindedly.

"What's wrong Bella?" She had heard her husband entering the living room and he was now standing a few metres behind her, a frown lacing his otherwise perfect features.

Bellatrix didn't face him but kept looking into the distance. She didn't respond.

"What have you done to my father?" His voice is full of malice and Hermione instantly drops what she's doing and turns around, her eyes locked on Draco's grey ones. His face has turned gaunt, he looks haunted, tormented. Hermione is puzzled for a minute, not understanding what he's referring to.

"You've done something. He's acting strange" He accuses her and steps closer, his eyes carrying a dangerous glow. His grip on his wand is so tight his knuckles are turning white and Hermione feels her heart hammering in her chest from fear.

"I haven't done anything" She hears herself respond in a weak, toneless voice and takes a step back. The room they're in is fairly spacey but the only door is behind Draco, whose body is now visibly shaking from anger.

"LIAR!" He sprints forward and instead of using his wand, grabs her throat with both hands, firmly pressing down. Hermione screams before his thumbs press down on her air pipes and Dracos pallid face becomes blurred, strange black dots appear and she can hear the unpleasant noises erupting from being strangled.

The dots are expanding and just before everything turns dark she can hear someone shouting and her body falls limply to the floor with a thud. Hermione inhales air like a stranded fish and her eyes once more become focused as she watches an angry Narcissa having a row at her son. At first their words are undistinguished but after a while Hermione can understand what they are saying.

"She has poisoned you! Both of you!" Draco's face is no longer pale but a dark shade of pink and he keeps hurling accusations at both Hermione and his parents as he swings his fists in the air like some brute in a bar who's just lost a bet. Narcissa is just standing there calmly, allowing her son to have his fit. She casts a quick glance at Hermione, from what she assumes is, to see that she is okay then looks back at her son who seems to have run out of accusations, his mouth open but no words coming out. He seems to contemplate whether to continue his ranting or just walk away but Narcissa stops him from doing neither.

"Draco" she says his name with a severeness that is rarely directed towards him and his pose changes immediately as he looks up at his mother, alerted.

"What makes you think Hermione is responsible for your father's doings?"

The question, not to mention the use of Hermione's name, takes him aback and he stands there silently, watching his mother with his steely eyes.

"Well it's obvious isn't it? Father never took an interest in any of these... filthy whores before and now he's, he's cheating on you mom! And you let him! And it's HER fault!" Draco shouts again and points his finger at Hermione who's now sitting up, her back resting against the wall. Hermione looks at Narcissa, she expects to see rage or disgust, but her face remains emotionless as she continues to stare at her son.

"You don't understand, Draco" She simply says and then says something completely unexpected. "Apologize to Hermione"

Draco's features change into a mask of utter contempt and horror. His mouth is gaping unattractively, reminding Hermione of an anglerfish.

"She has poisoned you too! That's it, I'm out of here" Draco says and stomps out, leaving an atmosphere of pure discomfort in the room.

Draco left to stay with his friend Doug and Hermione couldn't be any happier when those news reached her ears. The bruises on her neck were still visible even after Narcissa had tried to remove them by magic unsuccesfully. She could tell the other maids pitied her as they shared glances with each other but none of them actually spoke to her. Except Heather, who kept visiting her once or twice a week, always bringing something from the kitchen.

"You know what's going on right?" She said one night. It was close to midnight and they should both have been to bed hours ago. Heather's eyes were wide with excitement as she continued.

"Lucius is gone most of the time, and Narcissa seems not to care that much anymore. I think the only reason they're staying together is because he owns the property, without him Narcissa has nothing, oh and because of Draco of course. I can hear Narcissa crying every night because my bedroom is close to hers"

Hermione stares into the dark red liquid as she processes what she just heard. She's not surprised to hear it, she had somehow figured that out herself, but as she heard Heather sharing the same thoughts it was obvious that must be it. If Lucius wanted a divorce Narcissa would be left with nothing. And the maids belonged to him. Hermione suddenly realised what a great risk Narcissa had taken by attacking her husband two months ago.

"There is only a matter of time before Master files for a divorce. You know it, I know it, Narcissa knows it" Heather kept going as she took a sip from the wine she had stolen from the cellar.

"We have to do something" Hermione thought aloud. If they were left alone with Lucius and Draco, life wouldn't be miserable, it would be hell, pure, utter hell.

"I agree" Heather nodded and something shifted in her eyes, something dark and dangerous. "I know what we must do" she said and Hermione immediately knew what she meant. They had to take what was most precious to Lucius; his life.

Hermione shook her head.

"We'd end up in Azkaban" She said, her voice laced with fear.

"Not if it looks like an accident"

Hermione blinked. They couldn't possibly do this... could they?

Suddenly an image of a fair, dark haired witch flashed by and her heart fluttered in her chest. She had kept thinking about Bellatrix, had dreamt about her almost every night. She could still taste her lips, the feel of her hands against her breasts. She regretted not going with her that day, what a fool she had been. But the fear of being constantly reminded of that miserable incident had kept her at bay. As of now she had, well, not accepted what happened, for that feeling of disgust would always reside in her, however it didn't occur just as often. And with Draco now gone, life had become fairly easy.

"You really like her don't you?" Heather's question brought Hermione out of her reverie and she locked eyes with her friends green ones.

"How did you know?" Hermione swallowed hard anticipating Heather's answer. She had never spoken about Bellatrix to anyone, let alone her feelings.

"Well you always follow her with your gaze, and you always get this weird expression on your face whenever she's mentioned"

Hermione frowned, Bellatrix hadn't been here for months and nobody had mentioned her since then.

"Who are you talking about?" She asked, though she knew who Heather was talking about. After all there couldn't be anyone else she was referring to.

"Narcissa of course! And I think she likes you too by the way, she's always treated you nicer than the rest of us. Well either that or she feels sorry for you because of.. you know"

Hermione hadn't told Heather about that one night she and Narcissa had shared together. It was a mistake she had realized later, it was a moment of passion, nothing else. Sure she was attracted to the blonde witch but they both knew nothing else would come of it. Narcissa hadn't attempted anything since then, they had hardly even spoken. Until yesterday when her son had decided to take his revenge by trying to strangle her to death. She shuddered at the thought and prayed silently that he would never come back.

"No, Heather.. you're wrong.. "

Her friend looked puzzled and Hermione sighed, deciding that the truth needed to be told. She owed it to Heather, who had always treated her kindly and been a friend in every situation.

"I'm not in love with Narcissa.." she started by clearing that up for it wasn't true. "I'm in love with Bellatrix" It was the first time she had said it out loud and it sounded strange to her ears. Saying the witch's name felt odd and caused a shiver to run down her spine.

"I see.." Heather started to chew on her lip, processing the new information she'd just heard. "I thought you despised her 'Mione"

"I did.. but.. I don't, not anymore. I don't know. I just can't stop thinking about her" Hermione admitted.

Heather eyed her friend in silence. She could see so many different emotions displayed in her eyes, mainly sadness and she wanted desperately to make that sadness go away.

"I'm really unhappy Heather. I don't know what to do" The desperation in her voice was so clear it made Heather's heart ache.

She watched as huge tears slipped from Hermione's eyes and she pulled her into a hug. She held her for a while, Hermione's head resting on her shoulder. She sobbed violently while Heather whispered soothing things in her ear. After a while she could hear a faint snoring and Heather also allowed herself to fall asleep, only her sleep was plagued by nightmares of Hermione being chased by monsters, one of them engulfing her completely, laughing maniacally as he did so.

Reviews are most welcome. My sincerest apologies to all my readers, I don't write very fast.