A/N – Hello, thank you for your reviews (I agree with you by the way, my Cissy is a complete bitch but it's very fun to write her like that...mwahahaha!). Yeah, I probably could have taken advantage of the 'drunk' situation but I just stuck to 'feelings' and shit like that because as tempting as it was (and believe me, it was VERY tempting), I didn't want them to kiss just yet. Or wake up in bed together. Ok, I lie, I did want those two things to happen very much, but I'm biding my time *cue 'JAWS' music here*. LOL – anyway once again, thank you for your feedback and I hope this chapter isn't too...'fluffy'.

Thanks to: Cat, Laura, greeneleka, Darkshadow-lord, TaintedFlare, Kyraaah1992, lilithflower714, loonymoni, Clemenmore, Auraya Kairi Black, accioseverusnape, MusicLover333, unexpected sabotage, yamiperv, owltalon90, Adephegia, WolfAlpha13, Kriszti7, wickedRENThead1783, OpheliaBlack, Mia Constance Hardbroom, Wolf1337, SlyWolf17, LeslieB, YuffeGetsBears, hogwartswillwelcomemehomexoxo, Mistress Belladonna Black, SaikohBellaL, Roxy Huntington, hann234, wild artemis, LeoCookie, , Thinuil, Eliza Spootkitten, Y-C-H-3000, Cruciatus96, Hana X, ScOut4It, elfspirit7, ApollosGirlSunny, Bellaminion, lemonfiz1, xAceOfHarts, Most Loyal Bellaminion, , Nikki7993, Helena and Harry potter, ThisLife103.7, Bellatrixxx17, beany, Kennedy Lee, miluvrox, LeStrange, UndeadBellatrix, dracosmslytherinGirl98, Indulgery, hellhound2468, Cissa-Lycoris-Black, Mastiff, , RoswellLover22, shycoyotegirl, nayapotter34, starryeyeddaydreamer9, , QueenOfDarknessxXx, La Chat Noir, LethalPoison, LauraFlowi, Wolfgirl210082, LeStrangex, imperfectionisunderrated, B Pterodactyl, Greyella, Hermione LeStrange, InsanityRunsInMyBlood, sam, SCORPIAssassin, cheshire-eyes, Grounded, A grounded Bellaminion, xokarmaaxo.

The sky was just a velvety black sweep, scattered with the occasional star that twinkled merrily, beautiful diamond-like lights that knew everything about everybody. The stars saw millions of events compressed tightly into just a few seconds and, when she felt uneasy or annoyed – like she was feeling at the moment, Hermione liked to imagine that the stars were watching over her, their shining light shrouding her in a comfort blanket of...protection, almost like she imagined Harry must have felt like when he used to wear his Father's invisibility cloak. She longed to be in the 'Three Broomsticks', a place filled with warm, orangey lighting and comfortable, squishy chairs; a cosy place that was familiar to her, a place with a relaxed atmosphere where she had experienced many happy and sad times. Unfortunately, she was unlucky enough to be trapped in a dusty, cramped bar located on a dusty, cramped corner of Knockturn Alley; a bar full of wizards and witches that leered at one another; making crude, suggestive jokes and sexual innuendos that even Seamus wouldn't dare to make. It was a miserable place and it reeked of sweat, cigarettes and sex, a lingering odour of sewer water peppering the air. Hermione wriggled uncomfortably; one of the belt buckles that were attached to her trench-coat was currently digging into the bottom of her thigh because she had covered the barstool with the garment. There was no way she was sitting on one of those seats without being protected – the leather material of the furniture was covered with bloodstains and other distinctive colours that Hermione did not want to try and identify lest she regurgitate her lunch.

This was all Bellatrix's fault. It wasn't like she cared about the other witch or anything; the annoying cow could drink herself to death for all Hermione cared...however, she wished that she would have chosen a classier place to do so (preferably without dragging her along). Honestly, did Bellatrix not understand that Hermione might have been busy? Well, to be fair to the elder witch, all Hermione had planned to do was read and raid the kitchens, but she wished that the irritating woman would have stopped to consider her feelings beforehand. For all Bellatrix knew, Hermione might have wanted to stay indoors today – it was dreadful weather after all, and she had gone to the effort of casting many charms to slick her hair down because she wanted to look as presentable as possible for their meal. Well, they had planned to have an enjoyable dinner together later that night, but no, Bellatrix had to go and drown her bloody sorrows and drag Hermione along to clean up the mess afterwards. The selfish bitch. Hermione inwardly vowed to get sweet, satisfactory revenge...she would arrange a surprise visit from Dumbledore or Snape, or she would have Crookshanks roll around in Bellatrix's wardrobe – the thought of seeing the expression on the silly woman's face after she discovered her black robes were decorated with ginger cat fur was darkly entertaining. Maybe she would set Bellatrix up on a blind-date with Filch...but that did not seem like a good idea. She did not want to put poor Argus through that torture.

"Get me another glass of nettle wine you useless half-blood!" Bellatrix demanded, her coffee coloured eyes raking over the barman in a manner of scorn and disgust, "and get my friend here a bottle of firewhiskey, she needs a little something to put a smile on her pretty face", she slurred, snaking a slender arm across Hermione's shoulder blades and edging so close that Hermione could smell the alcohol on her breath. Hermione's response was to shrug away and glare at the intoxicated witch, whom merely grinned in reply, her teeth gleaming like the Cheshire cat's.

"I don't need a dusty crate of booze to put a smile on my face, Bellatrix", she hissed, crossing her arms across her chest in annoyance, "but I would appreciate it if you stopped insulting strangers whom you know nothing about!"

Bellatrix just licked her plum-coloured lips and blew Hermione an overdramatic kiss. Then, she blew her another kiss, but this time she grabbed her wand and whispered a few hurried words, a pleased expression haunting her face. The kiss that she had blown to Hermione was no longer just a puff of air – it transformed into cartoonish red lips fashioned from tissue-paper, swirling around the space between them like a demented butterfly before it flew towards Hermione and landed in her shirt pocket, fountains of pink glitter erupting from her pocket and spilling all over her clothing afterwards. Bellatrix giggled like somebody whom had just consumed two bottles of nettle wine, numerous shots of firewhiskey and, as the bartender put it: butterbeer with a 'kick'. Hermione rolled her eyes but could not refrain from letting out a laugh of her own – Bellatrix could be quite amusing when she was drunk...well, she could be amusing sober too, but Hermione found it difficult to admit the other witch's good qualities; it was easier to just pretend that she hated her instead, which, as of late, she had not been doing a very good job of.

"Hermione, you look very pretty in the moonlight", Bellatrix purred, her tone a silky whisper, "I should very much like to cut you out into little stars", she said. Hermione could feel her face flushing from her forehead to the tip of her nose to the point of her chin, and she did not know whether to feel embarrassed, flattered, worried or a combination of all three. She stared down into her untouched glass of butterbeer, dipping the tip of her finger into it slightly and making light patterns in the frothy foam. Although she had not drunk anything, a warm feeling was creeping up Hermione's insides and consuming her, making her feel as if she were in a haze, and although she did not know quite how to describe it, she knew that she most definitely did not feel sad or upset.

"Don't think I'm saying this out of concern, because you could drink yourself to death for all I care", Hermione lied, feeling guilty despite herself, "but I think that we should go home now, because..."

Because I'm worried about you and I want to keep you safe.

"Because I'm really cold and I'm starting to feel tired", she said, wishing that she could despise Bellatrix; hoping that Bellatrix would say or do the wrong thing so that Hermione would have a valid reason to be angry with her, "so, let's go. Let's go home".

"Alright", Bellatrix said, laying down the money for both of their drinks and rising up from her chair, and Hermione wished that she would have remembered to bring her own money with her; because she hated it that Bellatrix had paid for her drink too, and she wanted to slap the elder Witch for this uncharacteristic show of thoughtfulness.

She wanted to have a big argument with Bellatrix and then storm out of the bar, making heads turn and disapproving whispers fly around the room. She wanted to go to bed angry, angry at Bellatrix and angry at the world. And then, later that night when she would inevitably wake up sweating and trembling with fear from the latest gory dream, she wanted Bellatrix to be her usual cold and indifferent self rather than the strange, night-time Bellatrix; the Bellatrix who held her closely and whispered sweet nothings into her ear, because she had started the year hating Bellatrix and she wanted to end it that way too.

Then, Bellatrix smiled winningly at her, her eyes glassy and her face shining under the warm lamplight, and then those previous thoughts shattered away piece by piece and she only thought of good things; like the way Bellatrix's brow furrowed slightly when she was concentrating on something particular or the way that the other Witch's perfume floated around the room like some sort of floral cloud, lingering in the air for hours afterwards. She thought about the way Bellatrix flourished her wand and whispered her spells like they were sacred and important, she thought about how Bellatrix respected books and never, ever folded the pages over. She thought about the way she left the bathroom in a complete state in the mornings – with blobs of congealed toothpaste crusting the sink and half a tub of bathwater wetting the floor. She thought about the way Bellatrix concocted completely disgusting and weird dishes when the house-elves were busy and the way she sat Indian-style on the floor when she was procrastinating, legs crossed beneath her and her expression dreamlike. She thought about how she had hair like a long, ebony waterfall when it was wet, and how droplets of water landed all over the floor afterwards and how she looked like a darker and more sinister version of a fairytale mermaid. She remembered the funny stories that Bellatrix had told her about when she had been a small child; about when the Black family were holding a prestigious ball and her and Narcissa had hid under the tablecloths and jabbed at people's legs with knives and forks.

Then, when she and Bellatrix Apparated away together, their hands linked like jigsaw pieces as they clung unto one another as if their lives depended on it, Hermione knew that it would be very hard to hate Bellatrix indeed. Hermione had started to realize something that was very strange and made absolutely no sense; maybe she didn't hate the other Witch at all...maybe she actually liked Bellatrix.