Okay, this is around 2,000 words. I was going to have this online yesterday or the day before, but Comcast messed up my internet.
I'll be starting the eleventh chapter as soon as I put this one up. :)
"Ugh, the Gryffindor common room is on the complete opposite side of the castle from the Slytherin common room," Bellatrix scoffed as they walked down the staircase from the seventh floor.
"It's good exercise," Hermione replied.
"Are you calling me fat?"
"No, I just think it would be good for you to be able to walk around more instead of sitting inside all day like you did at Azkaban."
Bellatrix shivered, "Azkaban….."
They walked past the Great Hall where a few Slytherin students were standing around.
"Oh my merlin lord," one of them exclaimed, "It's Bellatrix Lestrange."
"Bellatrix Black now," Bellatrix said to him.
"I bet hanging around with mudblood Granger is worse than hanging around dementors, eh?"
"What did you call her," Bellatrix narrowed her eyes and started to walk towards him, but Hermione pulled her back and walked them towards Professor McGonagall's office as the Slytherin boy was left with an odd expression at Bellatrix's reaction.
Hermione briskly knocked on Professor McGonagall's door while Bellatrix huffed impatiently.
"Any trouble," Professor McGonagall asked Hermione after she opened the door and let them inside the large room still packed with Professor Dumbledore's old books.
"No, everything's fine," Hermione said. "Minister."
"Hello, Hermione," Kingsley Shacklebolt replied from the Floo network, "Ms. Black. How are things?"
"Things are great. I'm glad I was able to get Bellatrix out of the room for a while."
"Yes, I'm very much surprised you haven't had any trouble with this one," he turned to look at Bellatrix who glared at him, but not saying a word.
"I think she's rather underestimated," Hermione said feeling Bellatrix squeeze her hand tightly, "….in some areas; overestimated in others. Perhaps all she needed was to be around people with positive energy."
"Yes, well, it's hard to understand how Lord Voldemort's best Death Eater has suddenly changed her ways while others have decided to completely ignore the rehabilitation program they so willingly submitted themselves to."
"Who," Bellatrix asked curious.
"I cannot give out names, Ms. Black."
He lowered his eyes to Hermione and Bellatrix's intertwined hands. Professor McGonagall also looked and had the same confused expression on her face as Shacklebolt.
"Hermione," he started again, "I would like to remind you that you are an adult now, and shall no longer be fooling around in puppy-love or one week crushes. Don't let Ms. Black fool you with her charm and beauty. We may have to send her back to Azkaban if you cannot work with her the proper way."
This time Hermione squeezed Bellatrix's hand, "Excuse me, minister, but what do you know about our relationship?"
Bellatrix's eyes widened and she was worried that if Hermione continued with her tone, they might be separated, but she also didn't agree with what the minister was saying.
"For your information, Professor McGonagall put a charm on Bellatrix's suite to show any lies being told in the room. It's sad that it has to be that way, but it is, and I'm sorry your other death eaters aren't doing so well, but don't bash Bellatrix for it. As for puppy-love and one week crushes, I'm sorry, but I've got more important things, and people, to worry about. Do you really think the smartest witch of her age would really throw it all away for a fake relationship with Bellatrix Lestrange?"
"Black," Bellatrix said angrily.
"Shut up," Hermione replied nudging her.
Professor McGonagall and Minister Shacklebolt were floored with their expressions. Hermione knew she shouldn't have said it; now she knows how Bellatrix feels. This is something she really cares about, and she didn't appreciate anyone criticizing her or Bellatrix, especially Bellatrix.
"No one's dead," Hermione said after a minute of silence, "No one's hurt. I walked her through the corridors and let her spend time with my best friends."
"But what happens when she gets her wand back?" the minister asked.
"Yeah, when am I getting my wand back," Bellatrix piped up.
"Probably not for another year," Hermione replied.
"Look, minister, everything is fine; I promise. I won't keep anything from you. Yes, Bellatrix and I are together now, but it's what's helping her, and it's working. And I'm not just doing it because it's working either. Please trust me."
Kingsley stared at her for a few seconds before replying, "Good job."
"I was testing you. I wanted to see how committed, how much you care about Bellatrix. You see, a lot of our intern students who are working with other death eaters in rehab have been treating them poorly and using them for their own gain and experience. You're really one of a kind. I have always trusted you, Hermione, and I always will. Owl me if you need to."
The Floo Network flashed out and Professor McGonagall turned towards them. "Well, I guess that settles it for this meeting," she said. "Is there anything else you wish to ask me or tell me about?"
"I'm taking Bellatrix to the owlery, and then to find Draco," Hermione said, "I hope that's okay with you; we're trying to get more family involved, positive family interaction, don't worry. Is it okay to start letting her walk around Hogwarts now, as long as I am with her?"
"We can give it a try, Ms. Granger. Good luck."
"I hate how you all talk about me like I'm not even here," Bellatrix spat as Hermione grabbed her arm and walked her out of the office.
"Go ahead and wait here, Bella. I'll be out in a minute," Hermione said.
Bellatrix gave her a suspicious look before walking outside into the corridor. She noticed the Slytherin boy they bumped into was still lingering around. Bellatrix looked back through the crack of the door to see Hermione still talking to Professor McGonagall. She quickly walked over to the boy. He gave her a flirty smile before she grabbed his shirt and hissed in his face, "If I ever hear you call that girl a mudblood again, I'll have you screaming for your mummy like a little bitch."
"Yeah," he shoved her away a little, "Where's your wand?"
Bellatrix thought about it for a split second, but quickly replied, "I never needed a wand to torture my victims; they begged me for Crucio because it was not as bad." She dug her nails into his chest hoping to make a mark. Since filing her nails, she no longer had the long sharp claws to make her enemies bleed.
The boy walked away quickly. Bellatrix was pleased with herself and almost felt a high, like she just had a drug she was withdrawing from. She felt amazing and wanted more, but she knew she shouldn't.
When Hermione walked out of the room, Bellatrix stormed towards her.
"What the bloody hell am I supposed to do without my fucking wand for a whole fucking year?!" Bellatrix yelled to Hermione as they started walking towards the door to go outside.
"Calm down, you can use mine," Hermione said, "But only in the room."
"Oh, you mean in the bedroom," Bellatrix smirked.
"No, in the whole room; the suite."
They were almost to the owlery when Hermione saw Neville walking out towards their direction.
"What're you doing," Bellatrix said turning around when Hermione stopped.
"It's Neville," she said gesturing.
Bellatrix looked over and saw him walking with his head down.
"Look, don't say anything to him. I don't know if he'll say anything to you, but he might stop and talk to me. Just….remember what I said about being nice. Ignore him if he says something rash."
"My mother always said, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I say, "fine then, I'll just be mute my whole life."
Neville looked up and saw them both a few feet away from him. He gave a hesitant wave and decided to slowly walk over.
"Hey," he nervously laughed at Hermione.
"Hey, Neville," Hermione said, "Mailing something to your grandmother?"
"Yeah she's been wanting me to write more to her this year," he said not looking at Bellatrix once.
Bellatrix on the other hand was eyeing him like a hawk waiting for him to say something, anything, to her. She was just curious. She had only interacted with Neville once in her life and that was at the Department of Mysteries in fifth year. He had a feisty attitude back then, much like Hermione. Bellatrix smirked to herself as they continued their conversation without her. He has no parents; she has both parents, but they are both feisty Gryffindors. Feisty cats; I can imagine Hermione in a feisty cat-like position on the bed.
"Come on, Bellatrix," Hermione groaned pulling her out of her trance and towards the owlery.
"Where'd Longbottom go?"
"He left. Where did you go; Death Eater land?" She smiled at her as they walked inside.
"Hermione land! There must have been an awful lot of books and cushy chairs there!"
Hermione smiled and rolled her eyes as she tied Bellatrix's letter to an owl leg and let it go, "Thanks for behaving around Neville."
Hermione rubbed Bellatrix's cheek with the back of her hand, "Want to go find your stupid nephew now?"
Hermione laughed and linked their arms together before walking back towards Hogwarts.
"Shall we take you to a walk down memory lane into the dungeons to look for Draco?"
Bellatrix carelessly shrugged her shoulders.
They walked down the stairs passing a few glaring Slytherins; Bellatrix glared equally as hard back at them. They spotted Draco's white hair that stuck out like a sore thumb. He was talking to the Slytherin boy who insulted Hermione and was, therefore, assaulted by Bellatrix. Draco turned and looked at them as they approached.
He, surprisingly, walked straight up to Bellatrix, "You should be locked up in Azkaban you crazy bitch!"
"He one of your schoolyard chums?" Bellatrix asked gesturing to the Slytherin boy who stood back a few feet away from them.
"You shouldn't be allowed here; you're worse than him."
"Who? Are you talking about the scary Dark Lord?" Bellatrix's eyes lit up like an excited child's.
"I'm only going to give you one more chance to leave my friends alone, only because my mum wants me to be nice to you."
Bellatrix's smiling face went serious, "Your mum? She talked about me?"
"Wait, wait a second," Hermione stepped in, "What do you mean one more chance? Bellatrix hasn't done anything to your friends; she's only been out of her room for not even an hour."
"Well, Granger, maybe you should learn to watch her more while you're talking to your precious mentors."
Hermione rolled her eyes and turned towards Bellatrix who folded her arms and had a guilty expression on her face.
"What did you do," she sighed.
Bellatrix kept quiet.
Draco summoned his friend to come over and lift up his shirt; he hesitantly obliged. The right side of his stomach had four very red marks in the shape of finger nails on it, one of them bleeding.
"Bella!" Hermione gasped.
"I'm sorry," she said, "It's not one of my better pieces of work."
Hermione breathed in deeply and let it out slowly and looked back towards Draco, "I'm sorry; I really am. I should have watched her more."
Bellatrix started walking around rolling her head around and groaning.
"What's the problem?" Hermione turned around to make sure she didn't wander too far.
"You're apologizing to these two dimwits!"
"Because you're fucking crazy!"
"He called you a MUDBLOOD, you credulous whore!"
"Oh my god," Hermione put her hand to her head, "you need to calm down. We didn't come here for revenge."
"Why is it okay for them to call you a mudblood, but not me?!"
"It's not okay!" Hermione shouted to Bellatrix and then turned towards Draco, "It's not okay."
"Then I don't see what I did to be wrong."
"This is childish, Bellatrix. This is exactly what Professor McGonagall was worried about."
Hermione shook her head and gritted her teeth before turning back to Draco, "Look, I came back because I really think Bella needs support from her family. Obviously we're having problems right now, so do you mind giving me your cell number so I can take her back to the room and maybe calm her down, and I'll text you or something later this evening?"
Draco rolled his eyes and reached into his back pocket to get his phone. He slowly scrolled through his phone and looked up, "Do you want my mum's number?" He was asking more towards Bellatrix.
Bellatrix looked over stunned and then looked over at Hermione.
"Sure," Hermione replied for her.
Hermione apologized to Draco's friend again before escorting Bellatrix back to the room after putting both Draco and Narcissa Malfoy's cell number into her phone contacts.