Hermione clung to Narcissa with all the strength she had left, she thought that if she let go, even for a fraction of a second, she would plummet to the floor and land on her face. Bellatrix remained close behind them, begging her sister to reconsider what she was about to do.
"Cissy, please... if this gets out, I'll go back to Azkaban!" she gasped, tugging on the blondes arm.
Narcissa remained silent as she continued to make her way up the stone steps, freeing herself from her sisters grasp. She promptly took Hermione in to the kitchen, sitting her down on one of the large dining chairs, trying to remain calm, which was pretty challenging when she took in the sight of the young girl. Hermione was slumped in the chair, shaking frantically, her frizzy hair matted together with sticky crimson liquid. Narcissa turned away, almost looking as if she could feel her pain, and her crystal blue eyes fell on two house elves that were cleaning. The odd little creatures scarpered from the room with out the slightest hesitation. She then proceeded to cross the kitchen and reached in to one of the cabinets, returning to Hermione with a small, glass bottle. It was a strange bottle, black with silver markings around the base. Narcissa poured a small amount of thick green liquid in to a mug and handed it to Hermione.
"Here, drink this, quickly." she said, placing a stopper in the bottle.
"Wh-what is it?"
"It will make you feel better- just drink it."
The young witch bit down gently on her bloodied lips, clearly hesitant. It didn't look, or smell like it would make her feel better and she had no reason to trust the older witch, even if she had managed to get her away from Bellatrix. She stared blankly in to a cup, realizing she was hardly in a position to argue. After all she was still in the manor. Her eyes widened as she looked towards Narcissa, who was watching her intensely. The older witch gave a nod of reassurance, and Hermione, swallowed both her reluctance, and the potion in one large mouthful, trying not to heave.
"What was that?" she asked, grimmacing as she wiped her mouth.
Narcissa promptly took the cup from Hermione and placed it on the side, ignoring her question. Bellatrix lingered in the doorway, her wild eyes fixated on Narcissa, scoffing and muttering obscenities under her breath. The youngest Black sister, remained unphased, simply shaking her head before turning her attention back towards Hermione. She slid her hand in to the inside pocket of her coat and pulled out her wand. Taking a step forward, she pointed it towards Hermione, whispering something inaudible under her breath. Almost instananeously, Hermione felt a sudden stinging sensation thrive through her body causing her to whimper. Narcissa grimaced slightly at the sound, but continued to mutter incantations under her breath.
Bellatrix watched, a look of amusement on her face, as the girl squirmed helplessly in the chair for a few moments before falling unconcious.
"Cissy... What the hell was that?" Bellatrix questioned, almost sounding impressed as she tilted her head. The flames behind her dark orbs had seemingly died out, and were now, at most, flickering embers. Narcissa gave no reply, her intense stare fixed on the school girl, who was now unconcious in her kitchen. She took a deep breath, regaining her focus, and pointed her wand at the frail corpse a second time.
Her words were loud and confident. Hermione's body raised in to the air, almost adjacent to the tip of the wand, and Narcissa moved carefully through the kitchen and up the stairs. There was a slight bang as she broke the connection, and the death eaters victim crashed in to a large, four poster bed in one of guest rooms. Narcissa exhaled a heavy breath and began radiply covering Hermione with thick purple blankets. She gazed at her for a moment, desperately hoping that she'd remembered the correct spell. It was a spell she hadn't used for many years, since she'd had no need. She'd only ever practised on those of pure blood, and as she watched Hermione lay motionless on the bed, she wondered if it would be as effective, if it worked at all.
The mere idea of it caused a shiver to run down her spine, bringing her back to reality, and immediately she felt her sister's eyes fixated on her back. She turned to face the dark witch, concealing her thoughts behind a stern gaze, and lead her from the room. Much to her surprise, Bellatrix didn't even attempt to argue, instead she followed her back down to the kitchen, closing the door behind them. Narcissa turned to face her, knowing that the young girl would remain asleep for at least a few hours, she straightened her posture and took a step closer to her older sister.
"Sit down, Bella."
Bellatrix did as she was asked- it wasn't often she would listen to anyone, but her younger sister looked and sounded serious, and the death eater thought better then to upset her any further. Narcissa remained standing, blonde tresses falling freely against her milky skin as her eyes adjusted to Bellatrix's shape. The temperature of the room seemed to drop dramatically, and Bellatrix fidgeted in her seat, looking up at Narcissa with an almost childlike innocence.
"Cissy, I didn't mean to upset you-" she started.
Narcissa's eyes narrowed.
"Save it Bellatrix, I'm not after an apology! And I don't want to hear your warped excuses..." she snapped, almost shaking in anger. "Draco's age- you could have killed her..."
The shame in her voice echoed in the death eater's ears, and she quickly became irritable. She had no idea how her little sister could make the slightest comparrison between her own son, and Hermione. A muggleborn. Did blood purity really mean that little to her?
"She's just a filthy, little, mudblood!... What do you care?!" she shot back, her eyes widening in question as a slight smirk danced across her painted lips.
An earie silence flooded the room, and Narcissa's anger rapidly descended to sadness. Consumed by the heart wrenching idea of her son being a victim of any such merciless torture, her eyes fell to her hands, and the colour drained from her face, leaving her skin a ghostly shade of grey.
"She's just a girl." she breathed.
The words echoed throughout the manor, piercing the silence. Bellatrix slumped back in to her chair, hanging her head in shame, though not for the pain she had inflicted on Hermione. There was no doubt that the death eater was extremely sadistic, nor did she ever show remorse for the suffering she inflicted up on her victims, but Bellatrix was not heartless. She cared deeply for her younger sister, and it was extremely clear that she had hurt her, even if it was unintentional.
"I'm sorry, Cissy. Please." she muttered, failing to look up. "Don't be angry, I'll fix it.."
"How, Bellatrix?" Narcissa snapped. "How exactly do you plan on fixing this?"
Bellatrix pouted, shifting in her seat, she hated it when Narcissa was mad at her.
"No, I'll fix it. You stay away!" she scorned. "You'll only make things worse."
The next few days passed by so slowly it was practically painful, but at least Hermione was beginning to look more like herself again. A sign that Narcissa had remembered at least half of the spell correctly. The swelling around her eyes had subsided and her wounds were slowly beginning to heal. And much to Narcissa's surprise, and relief, Bellatrix seemed to have lost interest, unwilling to further fuel the rift that had grown between them.
Hermione struggled to sit up as Narcissa entered the room with a bottle gripped cautiously between her long fingers. It was the same bottle she'd seen before, the one with the silver markings. Unusually pretty when you considered the contents, but then again Narcissa had always been one for appearances. She glided across the room, taking a seat next to the young witch and poured a small amount of the liquid in to a mug, handing it to Hermione. The young girl reluctantly drank the sluggish green liquid without a word, and rested her head on the thick white pillows.
"When can I go?" she breathed, struggling to speak.
"When you are better." Narcissa replied, some what evasively. "Now get some rest."
Hermione nodded gently, and within moments she had drifted back in to a state of unconciousness. The blonde sat beside her looking somewhat anxious. Her cold eyes moved slowly around the room, taking mental notes of things that needed to be replaced as she searched her mind for a solution that would prevent her older sister from returning to Azkaban. Her eyes reached the door, only to find Bellatrix watching her, biting down on her crimson lips in frustration as she drummed her nails against the ivory wall. The woman stood up instantly, hurrying towards her. Once outside the room, she pulled the door shut and stood in front of it, looking slightly suspicious.
"Cissy, what are you up too?" Bellatrix whispered, sounding intrigued.
Narcissa looked at her for a few seconds, and swallowed hard.
"I'm cleaning up your mess, as usual, Bella!"
The death eaters eyes flickered as she raised her eyebrows, causing Narcissa to feel as though she was about to be interrigated. She quickly made her way back down the stairs, and in to the kitchen, closely followed by Bellatrix. No sooner had they entered the room, the cautious house elves scattered from view and Narcissa quickly crossed to the other side. Her sister followed one step behind her, causing her to flinch as she grasped hold of her frail wrists, pushing her against the kitchen counter.
"Now, little sister." she said, tilting her head from side to side. "You're hiding something! I can tell!" she paused momentarily, leaning closer to the blonde and lowering her voice to a whisper. "So, are you going to tell me what it is.. or shall I find out for myself?"
"Bellatrix, stop it, please- you're hurting me." Narcissa moaned, trying to free herself.
The raven witch scoffed, an all to familiar smirk rising to her lips as she dampened them with her tongue. Something had switched inside of her at the thought of being lied too, and she now had her face just inches from Narcissa's, circling her as if she were prey. Her eyes seemed darker than usual, like empty craters. Narcissa let out a gasp, fear spreading through her body like a disease as Bellatrix stopped in her tracks, putting her lips to Narcissa's ear.
"Come on, Cissy..." she hissed, trailing her wand against the younger witches skin, some what seductively. "What are you up too? Hmm.."
Narcissa slowly reached in to her pocket, her heart pounding beneath her ribcage. She could feel her sisters hot breath against her skin as she searched her robes for her wand. Bellatrix stepped back, noticing what she was up too.
"You wouldn't dare." she sniggered, looking sure of herself.
"You have no idea what I would, or wouldn't dare to do, Bella!" Narcissa shot back.
An intense silence fell between them and Narcissa swallowed hard, gripping her wand in her pocket. The pair stood face to face, their eyes locked. Bellatrix frowned, but to Narcissa's relief, she let her go. The blonde stared in disbelief, catching her breath as she looked to the death eater, who was twirling her wand in circles, smirking to herself like a michevious child.
Just moments later, Hermione woke somewhat dazed, her eyes slowly adjusting to her ivory surroundings. She placed her hand on her head in confusion as she tried to remember where she was, but to no avail. There was no sound, so she carefully sat up, draping her legs over the side of the bed and pulling herself to her feet. She wobbled slightly and grabbed hold of the dresser as she reached for her bag and pulled out her wand, making her way to the door. She tugged gently on the silver handle, careful not to make a noise, but it was locked.
"Alohomora." she whispered, taking a small step back.
There was an almost inaudible click as the door unlocked. Hermione grasped the handle again, slowly pulling it open as she peered outside for any sign of movement. There was nothing. She stepped outside of the room, cautiously pulling the door shut behind her and made her way to the top of a staircase. Her hand shaking, she reached for the banister, steadying herself as she made her way down the stairs. Large portraits lined the walls, familiar faces. Suddenly she gasped, she knew where she was, but she had no idea as to why. She held her breath, silently making her way through Malfoy Manor, her other hand deathly gripped around her wand.
As she stepped on to the solid ground, she could hear voices. She froze for a moment, trying to listen- still confused as to why she was there. Instaneously, the voices stopped and there were clear footsteps heading in her direction. Hermione felt her body tense as her tired eyes searched desperately for a place to hide. The footsteps were progressing quickly, and the girls heart was beginning to beat so rapidly, she felt she may stop breathing.
"I'll check on the girl." Narcissa called out, talking to Bellatrix, who was still loitering in the kitchen.
Hermione flinched, and warily climbed in to a small cupboard just as Narcissa entered the hall. The blonde froze for a moment before continuing on her way up the stairs. It was pitch black inside the little cupboard and there was a strange sound, like a whisper. Hermione could hear Narcissa's footsteps above her, she knew it would only be moments before Bellatrix and herself were aware of Hermione's disappearing act. The whispering sound was quickly growing more intense in the girls head as she tried to form a plan of escape. The strange thing was, the cupboard seemed to be empty. She clasped her wand tightly in her hand and drew breath.
"Lumos." she whispered, tensing as Narcissa's footsteps etched closer to the room she had been in.
There was an instant flicker of light inside of the cupboard, just enough for her to see. Her eyes strained as she searched for the source of the whispering, finally falling up on an old book. Hermione cautiously took it in to her hands, placing her wand on the floor beside her as she ran her fingers over the strong leather binding. She had no idea why, but her fingers danced across the tattered cover in the shape of a B, revealing what she assumed to be the Black family crest. It was a diary.
Just then her heart leapt as she heard hurried footsteps in the hall above her, she shoved the diary in to her bag and picked up her wand, rising to her feet.
"Bellatrix." Narcissa called, as she descended the stairs. "She's gone!"
There were hurried footsteps again as the death eater emerged to meet her sister just inches from the cupboard door.
"Nox." Hermione breathed, killing the light at the tip of her wand.
She stepped back in to the darkness of the small cupboard, and held her breath.
"How can she be gone, Narcissa?" The death eater questioned, stepping closer to her.
The two stood looking some what confused for a moment, Bellatrix's eyes widening as a look of irritation spread across her face, followed by a devious smirk.
"Well she can't get out." she said, sounding sure of herself.
Narcissa looked at her, silently asking the question of why, and the dark witch rolled her eyes.
"Oh come on, Cissy." she hissed. "I put enchantments on the doors... you seemed, well... soft."
Hermione couldn't help but gasp at what she had heard, quickly realizing, she clamped her hand over her own mouth. Bellatrix curled her lip as she tilted her head towards the cupboard, and raised an eyebrow, but before she could make her way over, Narcissa took hold of her wrist, looking frantic.
"What if she heard anything?" she gasped, the colour draining from her cheeks.
Bellatrix's attention fell back on her younger sister, and she pulled her close. This time it was more of a comforting grasp. She led her back in to the kitchen and sat her down without another word.
Hermione remained frozen for a few moments, nervous that they would return. When they didn't, she raised her wand in to the air, her hands still shaking slightly.
A little light flickered around the room for a second time, and the girl was immediately drawn to the words that had been carved in to the wall behind her. Her eyes widened as she ran her fingers across them curiously. 'Why would there be anything written inside of a cupboard?' she thought. She held her wand closer and began to whisper.
"Move the heavens, waters, and fires. Lead us to our deepest.. desires."
A look of confusion and worry plastered her face as the words filled with a silver liquid. She could feel the ground beneath begin her shake, and hear hurried footsteps coming towards her. The cupboard door swung open and Hermione gasped, her heart now in her mouth.
"Get the girl, quickly!" Bellatrix bellowed, rage filling her eyes. But as Narcissa reached out for her, a thick cloud of smoke cased Hermione, shielding her from her touch. The death eater screamed in temper and everything faded to black for a few moments.