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what have we done (can i be undone?)

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chapter one. 

daylight savings won’t fix this mess

 

Bellatrix Black woke with a start, breath barely reaching her lungs as she gasped for air. Her hands clawed at her neck and her eyes bulged. She twisted wildly, her legs catching in her sheets as she thrashed around. 

 

After what felt like an hour, she settled back against the bed. 

 

Must have been some Quidditch party , she thought wryly, staring up at the green canopy above her bed. Her whole body ached painfully, particularly her left side, where the younger Winickus brother had accidentally redirected a bludger into her. She pushed herself into a sitting position. She’d just have to convince Andy to give her one of the good headache potions and maybe patch up her ribs. 

 

Something tugged at the back of her mind, an oppressive darkness that must have been what woke her up in such a way. She scrubbed a hand over her face, eventually pulling at some of her more unruly curls that had broken free from her braid. 

 

Pushing open her curtains, she glanced around the seventh year dormitory, which was strangely empty. There weren’t any trunks or posters. Not even Beth’s annoyingly cloying perfume hung in the air. It was just...empty. 

 

Bellatrix dove to the ground, searching for her belongings, but there was nothing there. 

 

Desperate, she shoved a hand under her pillow in search of her wand. She sighed in relief as the cool walnut met her fingers. Biting back a vicious curse, she stormed out of the room, ready to tear into whatever idiot messed with her belongings. 

 

But the staircase was quiet and clean. Not at all how it should be after winning the Cup. Last night there had been streamers and butterbeer bottles and snogging couples. Now it was just abandoned. 

 

Her heart pounded uncomfortably in her throat as she emerged into the common room. 

 

“Alright, you filthy muggle-lovers, what have you…” Bellatrix’s voice faded away as she stared at the empty room. Like the staircases, it was completely abandoned. There was no trace of anybody. In fact, it seemed like how the common room looked at the beginning of term. But it was May. 

 

Her wand now drawn, she tore back up the stairs, first to the third year dormitory in search of Narcissa. If whoever had pulled this stunt had touched either of her sisters, she would flay them alive, without magic. But it was empty. The beds were turned up, the pillows all stacked in one corner. 

 

“Cissy!” She screamed, her voice breaking with the anxiety of her missing sister.

 

She checked every corner of the room before moving up to the fifth floor. 

 

“Andy! Andromeda! This isn’t funny anymore!” 

 

With a long string of curses, she burst back into the common room. She would just go to breakfast and then hex whoever had done this into the next millennium. 

 

Casting a cursory glance around the empty common room, Bellatrix shook her head and left the Slytherin common room. 

 

As the door slammed shut behind her, a newspaper fluttered down from one of the bookcases. 

 

LORD VOLDEMORT DEAD; HARRY POTTER VICTORIOUS

 

Bellatrix practically sprinted up the narrow staircases that led to the Great Hall. The air was heavy with dust and magic; it crackled at her skin. It felt both unnatural and strangely familiar. 

 

When she finally reached the Entrance Hall, her mouth fell open. 

 

It was in ruins. Large parts of the ceiling lay broken on the ground and there was a dark smear that looked awfully like blood across the floor. 

 

“What in Merlin’s name…” She trailed off as she saw a girl about her age emerge from behind one of the pieces of masonry. Her wand was in the air, directing a series of bricks back into the entryway. Bellatrix’s fingers curled around her own wand as she watched the girl. She didn’t even look vaguely familiar, but Bellatrix felt drawn to her. 

 

Bellatrix’s foot caught on a bit of loose rock, causing the stone to clatter across the floor noisily. 

 

The girl spun around sharply, her wand posed for dueling. Her eyes fell on Bellatrix and her mouth fell open. “Who are you? How did you get in here?” The girl’s wand remained firmly pointed at Bellatrix as she advanced on her, stepping deftly over the various chunks of rock. 

 

Bellatrix, in response, raised her own wand, ready to jinx the girl if need be. 

 

The other girl’s eyes flitted down to Bellatrix’s wand and her mouth fell open. “You!” 

 

She brandished her wand violently at Bellatrix. If not for her Quidditch instincts, Bellatrix might have been another dark smear on the floor as a large piece of rock flew past where her head had been. “You are supposed to be,” the girl shot a fast series of stunners towards where Bellatrix lay, “dead!” she spat the last word along with a purple jet of light. 

 

Bellatrix rolled to the side and threw up a shield. The spell glanced off into the wall behind her. The girl continued to throw curses at her, steadily advancing on her. Bellatrix, still disoriented by the state of the entrance hall, maintained a shield in front of her.

 

She swiped a hand across her eyes as dust continuously fell into them, partially blinding her. 

 

Bellatrix came to her senses as a stunner nearly grazed her cheek. She narrowed her eyes and surged forward, casting a series of curses back at the other witch. “Who in Merlin’s name are you?” 

 

The other witch was prodigious, nearly a match to Bellatrix’s own skill. The two witches exchanged curses until a particularly tricky bit of skill work ended with Bellatrix on the ground, her wand in the other girl’s hand.  

 

“Get up.” The other girl jerked her wand at her violently. “I said, get up.” Bellatrix slowly stood to her feet, not too fond of the dark glint in the brunette’s eye. “ Incarcerous. ” 

 

“What are you doing? Do you know who I am?” Bellatrix struggled against the thin ropes cutting into her wrists. The other girl shoved her forward, her wand pressed between Bellatrix’s shoulder blades. 

 

“Unfortunately, yes, I do. Now move. We’ll go speak with McGonagall. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to see you.” The other girl gripped her shoulder and dug her wand into Bellatrix’s back. Bellatrix hesitated for a moment before moving forward in the direction the girl pushed her. The pair walked in silence until Bellatrix made to turn towards the transfiguration classroom. The other girl let out a hiss and forced her the other way. 

 

“You said McGonagall, right?” 

 

“Yes.” 

 

“We’re going the wrong way.” 

 

“No, we aren’t.” 

 

“Do you even attend Hogwarts?” 

 

“I did.” 

 

“Past tense? When did you graduate?” 

 

“Just shut up, okay?”

 

Bellatrix shrugged her shoulder, ignoring the pain shooting up her ribcage. “Whatever you want.” 

 

The other girl led her through the hallways, which looked as if it had been ravaged by war. They came to a stop in front of the headmaster’s office, guarded by a gargoyle missing its beak. The other girl moved in front of Bellatrix, one hand still resting on Bellatrix’s shoulder. Bellatrix took the opportunity to study her captor more closely. 

 

She was slightly taller than Bellatrix in height, but of a similar slim build. Her hair looked like it needed a good smoothing potion, but was otherwise a pretty brown color. Bellatrix traced down the girl’s outstretched arm on her shoulder.

 

Mudblood 

 

A chill passed down Bellatrix’s spine as she studied the word. It had been carved into her skin, still pink and scabbing at points. She couldn’t tear her gaze away from the girl. Was she a mudblood? But she had been such a talented duelist. Her magic had overpowered Bellatrix. That couldn’t be. 

 

The letters looked so familiar. 

 

Why did they look...so… But then she was fading away. There was black forming around the edges of her vision. She was falling. She was falling. She was falling.

 

xx 

 

Bellatrix screamed. She screamed until her voice gave out. She screamed for her master, for her sister, for the deaths of her enemies. She cursed that fucking Weasley who had hit her. She cursed the Potter boy and his inability to die. 

 

She sobbed. Tears coursed down her cheeks. She couldn’t remember the last time she had cried. 

 

That was a lie. 

 

She knew when the last time she had cried had been. It had been as she held Cissy when a letter arrived from her middle sister, announcing her marriage to that filthy mudblood. After that, she had forsworn tears. She would not shed tears over anybody else. 

 

And yet here she was, surrounded by darkness, sobbing. 

 

“Child.” The voice held the multitudes of the universe in it. It was timeless and ancient and it made Bellatrix want to claw her skin off. “Welcome.” 

 

She tried to twist around to look at her surroundings but found herself frozen in place. 

 

A figure emerged from the crushing darkness, a woman, but it was almost painful to look too closely at her face. 

 

Bellatrix hissed, but it was not in anger but in fear. “Where am I?”

 

The ensuing chuckle felt as if it could level civilizations. “That depends I suppose, child. Do you follow a religion?” 

 

“I know of the Old Gods and of those worshipped by foolish muggles.” 

 

“All are close in their approximation of what happens next. But none are fully correct.” 

 

“What am I doing here then? I’m dead.” 

 

“I have long been curious about you, Bellatrix Agrippa Black. I have watched you since you were born. When you and your mother almost perished. I watched as you fought and dragged yourself back into the world of the living. Your cheeks turned pink and you wailed and I was intrigued. Your name. Bellatrix. The female warrior. You are at your core, a fighter. I have watched as you have fought through every moment of your life.” 

 

The woman brushed a few fingers across Bellatrix’s cheek, her touch somehow burning and freezing at once. 

 

A press of images overwhelmed Bellatrix, her eyes rolling back into her head. 

 

“You fought to protect your sisters from the dangers of your father, from the darkness of your mother.” 

 

Narcissa, aged five, braided daisies into Bellatrix’s dark hair while Andy wove crowns of flowers for them. 

 

Andromeda, her face smiling and so similar to Bellatrix’s own. The pair of them curled in one bed, giggling, whispering secrets. 

 

“You fought to prove yourself.” 

 

The rapid-fire images of her sorting, her first Quidditch cup, her dueling championships. 

 

The images disappeared as a voice she had not heard in many years said, “You could be brilliant, Bellatrix, but you must choose your own path. Do not allow others to control your destiny.” 

 

“Of course not, Professor McGonagall.” 

 

“If you do not wish to go through with this wedding, you will always have a place with me.” 

 

A warm smile, a cup of tea.

 

Then pain.

 

“You fought to save yourself from pain, even though it meant throwing yourself into the fire.”     

 

The burn of the dark mark. Her Lord’s hissed words of praise. 

 

But then, Rodolphus’ face looming over her. She tried to scream but there was no sound. 

 

“But in your fight for survival, you have lost your soul.” 

 

Bellatrix’s eyes were forced open and she found the woman so close to her face she ought to have been able to feel her breath, but there was no air. 

 

“I have lost nothing, but my Lord!” Bellatrix spat out, her hands curling into fists at her side. 

 

That laugh came again and Bellatrix wanted to curl into a ball. 

 

“You have lost everything. But fret not, child. Of all those who have died today, you shall be the only one to receive a second chance.”

 

“To stand by my master.” She stated. 

 

Something hissed across her cheek, leaving pain in its wake. “Foolish child. You will have a chance to redeem yourself. You have left a scar across your world. And you will repair it.” 

 

“I did my best to serve my Lord! I will not apologize for that! Release me!” 

 

Something gripped her head tightly as if it were pressing her further into the darkness. “You will return but it will not be as you currently are. I will return you to before you were tainted, but you will not forget what you have done. You will live with the weight of your actions.” 

 

The darkness pressed down upon her, forcing her back into nothingness. 

 

xx 

 

“How could she be here, Professor?” Hermione asked, wringing her hands in her lap. “We all saw her die. I saw them bury her body. She was gone.” 

 

Her gaze remained fixed on the girl lying prone on a hospital bed, her dark hair spilled across the pillow. The face was the same in structure as the one that haunted her dreams, but it was the youthfulness that was throwing Hermione. She looked innocent, harmless, nothing like the dark witch that had died barely a week ago. 

 

“I’m not sure, Miss Granger.” 

 

She cast a glance to her professor, who looked stricken. “Time turner accident?” 

 

“It is possible, I suppose. But I don’t know where she could’ve gotten one. If I had to estimate her age, I would say she is from her last year of school, maybe soon after.” 

 

“Is that before she became a Death Eater or after?” Hermione didn’t even attempt to keep the sneer off her face. She could, for all of her brainpower, not comprehend a Bellatrix Lestrange who was not evil and madness incarnate. “Or was she always evil, Bellatrix Lestrange?” 

 

The look McGonagall pinned her with would’ve made eleven-year-old Hermione practically burst into tears. It made seventeen-year-old Hermione curl in on herself in shame. 

 

“At this time in her life, she went by Bella Black, star chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch Team, top of her class, generally known as the brightest witch of her age,” McGonagall cast a meaningful glance towards Hermione as she said the phrase that had followed Hermione since her first year at Hogwarts. “Miss Black graduated with 11 Outstandings on her NEWTs, and then was immediately betrothed to Rodolphus Lestrange and the rest is, as they say, history. The Bella Black I knew was fiercely loyal to her sisters, to a fault. Had a temper and was alone more often than not. She spent a shocking amount of time in the library and was known for having a smart mouth in most of her classes.” 

 

“Oh,” was all Hermione could manage to say, her chest tight. The image McGonagall painted of a young Bellatrix sounded so achingly familiar, she couldn’t help but wonder what caused that girl to turn into the woman she would become. 

 

“Yes, very much so. I’m going to consult with my predecessors to see if we can’t come up with a solution for young Miss Black here.” McGonagall stood to her feet, a world-weariness still pressing against her shoulders. “Do send a Patronus if she wakes or anything changes.” 

 

McGonagall patted Hermione on the shoulder kindly before leaving the hospital wing. 

 

Hermione redirected her focus back to the dark witch in front of her, studying her still features. 

 

How could the girl that McGonagall described be here in 1998, 30 years out of time? 

 

She studied the pair of walnut wands in her hands. At first glance, they were indiscernible, but upon further inspection, or in the hands of someone who knew the wand as well as Hermione did there were noticeable differences. 

 

For starters, one had taken far more abuse, a result no doubt due to its wielder's many duels. There was one long, thin gouge near the handle, however, that was shared by both wands. 

 

But far more telling was the feeling that tugged at Hermione as she held the one she had been using. It felt powerful, but a powerful darkness that threatened to overwhelm all else. The other wand felt equally powerful, but without the suppressive darkness. 

 

This was a wand that had never tortured Neville’s parents to madness. Had never murdered muggles for sport. Had never killed Sirius. Had never caused so much destruction. 

 

And, Hermione concluded, neither had the girl in front of her. 

 

But she would, Hermione thought with a shake of her head. This girl would still become Bellatrix Lestrange. She would still do all of those horrible, dark, evil things. 

 

She was still evil, and Hermione would be damned if she let her upset the new peace that had finally settled in the wizarding world.     

Chapter Text

chapter two. 

thunder only happens when it’s raining

 

“Tea anyone?” McGonagall offered, breaching the silence between the three witches. Hermione was staring fixedly out the window, refusing to glance in Bellatrix’s direction while Bellatrix was fixed on the portraits behind her desk of the headmasters. 

 

Dumbledore smiled back at her, his half-moon glasses precariously perched on his nose. Bella couldn’t comprehend it. He had been at her Quidditch match the day before. And he had certainly not seemed like he was on the verge of death or retiring. But there was his portrait. 

 

She had never paid much mind to the portraits of former headmasters. There was, of course, her ancestor Phineas, who also had a portrait in her Aunt Walburga’s house, but there was another younger man on the other side of Dumbledore that seemed vaguely familiar. 

 

She shifted in her seat as the professor passed her a cup of tea, her body aching painfully. She was no stranger to pain, be it from Quidditch or a visit home, but this felt different. It was as if the very essence of her being was in pain. 

 

The cup of tea felt wonderful in her hands and she cradled it to her chest. Since her little swooning fit, a bone-chilling cold had lodged itself in her body, not unlike the sensation described in Dementor attacks.

 

“Feeling any better, Miss Black?” 

 

“Thank you, Professor. I’m not sure what came over me.” Her gaze slid momentarily to the girl hovering near the window, her arms tight across her chest. “If I may, what happened to the castle? It looks like a warzone.” The flinches of the other two more than answered her question, but still McGonagall pressed on without answering it. 

 

“All in due time. Now, Miss Black, if you would tell me the date?” 

 

Bella furrowed her brow, trying to deduce what game the Transfiguration professor was playing. “The date? It’s the 10th of May.”

 

“The year.” The other girl had a deceptively gentle voice for somebody who hexed first, asked questions later. 

 

“1968. What is this about? What is going on?” 

 

McGonagall pinched the bridge of her nose for a long moment, exhaling sharply, before saying, “Miss Black, I’m not sure how best to say this….” 

 

“It’s 1998.” 

 

Bellatrix’s mouth fell open. “1998…? How? How is this possible?” Bellatrix, despite the pain in her body, shot to her feet. The panic began to roll through her body. “No, no, no.” 

 

  1. That was thirty years. It was almost the new millennium. That meant… she was nearly 50. 

 

“H-how? What happened to me? Professor, please. You have to tell me. You have to help me!” 

 

“Miss Black, I understand this is a lot to take in-” 

 

“A lot to take in!” She shot to her feet, wishing desperately she at least had her wand on her. “There is certainly a lot to take in. I need to go back. You have to send me back.” 

 

“Are you in possession of a time-turner?” The girl by the window interjected, her posture defensive as if she expected Bella to attack at any given moment. 

 

Bellatrix had only ever seen a broken time turner in a drawer of her uncle’s study. But before she could touch it or examine it further, her father had called her away. “No, of course not.” Her mind caught up quickly. “You could just use a time-turner to send me back! If you just send me back to the 10th of May in 1968, there will be no difference. You haven’t told me anything about the future, I haven’t affected anything. I haven’t seen my future self. It’ll be as if this never happened.” 

 

“All the time-turners were destroyed in the Department of Mysteries two years ago.” 

 

Bella was really starting to dislike this girl, whoever she was. 

 

“Who would be dumb enough to destroy the time-turners?” The other two witches shared a knowing look that made her skin tingle. She focused back on McGonagall, she was at the very least a known entity. “Please, Professor, I need to go back. Please.” 

 

McGonagall’s dark eyes were filled with sympathy as she shook her head. “I’m afraid I have no means of sending you back at this time. If we knew how you arrived here, it might be more obvious. What had you been doing last night?” 

 

“Were you using dark magic? That might have caused this,” said the girl. 

 

Bella twisted in her seat to glare at her. “I had just won a bloody Quidditch match and had been celebrating with my house. I certainly wasn’t practicing dark magic, what are you, dumb?” She all but snarled. She was sick of this girl. First she tied her up, then she accused her of dark magic. 

 

It wasn’t as if Bella hadn’t been exposed to dark magic. It practically oozed out of the walls at some of her family homes. But she wasn’t dumb enough to practice it at school. Many of her Slytherin housemates may have dabbled at Hogwarts, but more often than not they were quickly caught and punished. 

 

“Girls!” McGonagall’s sharp tone cut off the other girl’s response and she raised her hands to surrender. 

 

“Sorry, professor, but dark magic is certainly a possibility, you know, given everything that’s happened and who is involved.” 

 

Bella’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “And what do you mean by that?” 

 

“Nothing, nothing at all.” 

 

“I don’t think we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, given that your first greeting was to hex me for no good reason. Where are my manners,” she sneered, “I am Bellatrix Black, of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Who are you?” 

 

“None of your business if you’d like to go back to your time.” 

 

The other girl smirked as Bella flinched. She couldn't be trapped in this time. She needed to get back. She would just have to keep her temper in check, something made easier by the loss of her wand. 

 

“Can I at least have my wand back?” She asked, facing McGonagall once more. 

 

“I don’t see why not. Miss Granger?” 

 

Granger, her mouth agape, remained frozen by the window. “Professor, you can’t seriously mean to give her her wand back. Have you gone mad?” 

 

“Miss Granger!” 

 

“I only mean, Professor, are you sure?” Granger backtracked, her cheeks flushed. 

 

She’s rather pretty, Bella thought absently, with her cheeks all flushed and glowing. But she quickly stamped down the thought. 

 

With a sigh, Granger handed Bella her wand, their fingers brushing in the process. There was a spark of electricity between them, but neither girl acknowledged it. 

 

“Miss Granger, if you wouldn’t mind heading down to the kitchens and letting Winky know we have another guest in the castle at the moment, I would be greatly obliged.” 

 

Granger nodded stiffly, then paused, narrowing her eyes at Bella. “Are you sure you’ll be okay, Professor?” 

 

“Certainly.” McGonagall’s tone brooked no further discussion and Bella suppressed a grin as Granger shuffled out like a dog with its tail between its legs. “Now, Miss Black,” she began as the door shut behind Granger. “You will have to forgive us. You have come in a difficult time.” 

 

“You don’t bloody say,” muttered Bella under her breath. 

 

“As I was saying, it is a difficult time. As you noticed, the castle is under repair and things are not the most stable.” 

 

“Couldn’t we just find my future self? I’m sure she, or I suppose, I know how to send me back.” A shadow passed across McGonagall’s face. Something pulled painfully at the pit of her stomach. “I’m dead, aren’t I? I’m not even fifty and I’m dead.” McGonagall made no move to confirm or deny. “How?” She finally croaked after a long beat. 

 

“I’m afraid I can’t tell you much of what’s going on until we know what has happened to you. I can’t in good conscience allow you to alter the past or the future, Miss Black.” 

 

“Do you think I want to be here?” Bella snarled, her fingers itching for her wand. “I didn’t ask to be sent here. Just tell me what happened to me. What happened to my family. Where are my sisters?” 

 

“I’m sorry, Bellatrix. I can’t. Are you hungry?” 

 

Bella blinked at the older woman, baffled by the sudden change in topic. “What?” 

 

“I asked if you were hungry or not. Winky makes a fabulous stuffed chicken.” 

 

“I’m stranded thirty years in the future. A future where I’m already dead and you’re talking about chicken?” Bella tugged at her braid, suddenly distinctly aware that she was still in her pyjamas from the night before. “Professor, please. I need to go back. It’s imperative that I’m in 1968 for my graduation. It’s not just for me, but for my sisters’ sake.” 

 

“I can promise you your sisters are, well,” McGonagall hesitated and that shadow returned to her face. “They are as fine as can be expected.” 

 

“Where are they then? Surely it can’t hurt for me to at least see them.” 

 

“I’m afraid that wouldn’t be possible.” 

 

“Why not? They’re in the future, it wouldn’t affect the past. I just need to know that they’re okay.” Bella fought the tears that pricked at the corner of her eyes, frustrated with her teacher and the events of the day. 

 

McGonagall moved to pat Bella on the hand, but ultimately thought better of it. 

 

“It wouldn’t affect the past, but it would affect them at this delicate moment.” 

 

“I know Cissy can be a bit emotional and I’m sure she hasn’t exactly grown out of that, but Andromeda is level-headed to a fault. At least let me speak with Andy,” she pleaded. She needed Andy’s logic and balance. She needed her sister to tell her everything would be okay. 

 

“Bella, stop. I can’t let you speak to either of your sisters. I’m sorry.” 

 

Why wouldn’t McGonagall let her see her sisters? What could have happened to them? “Are they dead as well?” 

 

“No, they are both in good health as far as I know.” 

 

“Well, if they aren’t dead, and I am, wouldn’t they want to see me once more?” 

 

“I will not put them through that if I can avoid it.” 

 

“Fine.” Bellatrix stood to her feet, frustrated with the circular conversation. “If that’s all, I’ll be heading off to bed.” 

 

“I think that would be best. Allow me to show you to the Gryffindor common room.” 

 

Bella blanched. “Gryffindor?” 

 

“Yes, much of the castle is in disarray and that is where Miss Granger is staying. So that is where you will stay.” McGonagall motioned for Bella to follow her without much room for argument. 

 

As they walked through the castle, Bella couldn't help but stare at the partially repaired damage. There were gaping holes in the ceiling where starlight poured through and the staircases crumbled away into nothingness at certain points. 

 

And was that blood? Bella wrinkled her nose as they passed by a dark smear of red on a wall. 

 

She wondered who had been fighting and over what. How did it happen at Hogwarts, one of the safest places in Wizarding Britain? 

 

Her pondering was interrupted by McGonagall saying, “Victory” which caused the portrait to swing open. Granger sat waiting for them in front of the fire, her scowl back on her face. 

 

“Miss Granger, if you would please show Miss Black to the head girl’s quarters. I think it best she stay close for the time being.” 

 

Granger looked as if she wanted to say something, but refrained, standing to her feet jerkily. “C’mon then.” 

 

“Miss Black,” called McGonagall right as they reached the stairway, “I will do everything in my power to fix this and send you back to your time.” 

 

“Thank you, Professor.” Bellatrix nodded curtly to the teacher, all of her years of etiquette training forcing her face to a neutral expression. “I appreciate it.” 

 

Granger coughed, a few stairs ahead of Bellatrix, and Bellatrix turned back to follow her up the stairs.

 

She had only been in Gryffindor tower once for an ill-advised hook-up in her sixth year. And it apparently had not changed with time, remaining a nauseating mix of red and garish gold. She far preferred her Slytherin common room with its calming green and dark colors. 

 

Granger pushed open a door at the very top of the tower, revealing a rather large room draped in dark red. 

 

“The bathroom is just through there if you’d like to freshen up.” Her tone could only be described as forcibly polite, but Bella was just glad she wasn’t trying to hex her anymore because Bella would hate to break McGonagall’s pet mudblood (if her arm was to be believed). Bella was ready now, unlike the events of this morning. 

 

She splashed some water on her face, surprised by the deep dark circles carved beneath her eyes. 

 

When she emerged from the bathroom, there was a second bed in the room and a large folding divider in the center of the room. 

 

“Why are there two beds?” 

 

“Because we will be sharing the room for the time being.” 

 

“Are you serious? I will not sleep in the same room as a mudblood.” 

 

As soon as the words left Bella’s lips, Granger was on her, pinning her to the wall. “I’d advise you stop using that term. It is no longer acceptable in this time.”

 

Her forearm pressed against Bella’s shoulders and their hips were practically touching. Granger’s mousy appearance covered the fact that she was surprisingly fit if the muscles in her arm were anything to go by. As their noses practically brushed, the extra few inches Granger had on her seemed more dramatic, and frankly annoying. 

 

“Get the fuck off of me, mudblood.” 

 

Bella grinned at the flinch that she felt more than saw, but that grin slipped as she felt the point of Granger’s wand dig into her side. “Don’t test me, Le-Black.” 

 

Bella shoved Granger back. “Just stay away from me.” 

 

“Gladly,” spat Granger, spinning on her heel. “I’ll be back later. Have a good night.” The door clicked behind Granger and Bellatrix’s walls collapsed. 

 

She shuffled to the bed, again in a terrible shade of red, and fell onto it. With a flick of her wrist, the curtains fell shut, blocking out the outside world. 

 

A loud sob ripped from her chest, Bellatrix curled in on herself. She wanted her sisters. She wanted Andromeda’s gentle reassurance and steady hand. She wanted Cissy’s bright smile and silly nature. How could she abandon her sisters? 

 

She needed to get back to her own time no matter the cost. 

 

xx 

 

Hermione pressed her back against the dormitory door, mind reeling. She shuddered as she listened to the sobs coming from within the room. 

 

Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort’s second-in-command, the most feared of the Death Eaters, sobbing in Gryffindor Tower. She didn’t know what to think.

 

As she made her way back to the common room, she was left unsure of what to do. So she did what she did best, she went to the library. 

 

After a brief discussion with the Fat Lady instructing her to not allow Bellatrix to open the door, she made her way down to the library, ignoring the creepiness of the empty castle. 

 

The library had largely been spared during the Battle thanks to Madam Pince’s valiant defense of her domain. There was only a few pieces of rubble that had crushed a study table when a spider had dropped from the sky. But Madam Pince had quickly dispatched it with the help of a couple of Ravenclaws. 

 

It was a solace to Hermione’s frayed sense of self to have the library unchanged. 

 

Harry and Ron might mock her instinct to always return to her books, but her books had saved them on more occasions than she cared to count. 

 

And so, her books may hold the answer to rid herself of the death eater currently sobbing in her room. 

 

Pulling a spare bit of parchment from her pocket, she tapped it with her wand. “Bellatrix Lestrange subjectium aperte revelatus.” It was a handy spell she had invented in her fifth year after one too many difficulties with Madam Pince over the location of specific texts. She was hoping one day to market it as a research tool, but other things had taken priority. 

 

The paper soon filled with a number of texts and their location throughout the library. 

 

A large portion of them were found in the History of Wizarding Britain, 1945-1981 section as well as the Current Events section. Hermione soon found herself with a neat pile floating behind her. There were also a handful of newspaper articles dating back to Bellatrix’s birth announcement as well as other mentions in the society pages before it switched to reports of attacks on muggles and citizens, filled with torture and murder. Clippings of those flipped into a folder before resting atop the stack of books. 

 

The last items on her list were over in the journal section, an area which Hermione had always wished she had more time for. She, naturally, subscribed to a few journals herself like American Magical Review , Journal of Applied Magical Theory and Magie Internationale . But very rarely had journal article come up in the course of her studies at Hogwarts. 

 

The paper directed her to two different journals and editions: The Athenian Journal of Runic Research and Camelot (a journal concerned with new areas of magical research). She wasn’t sure why those would be included in her research of Bellatrix Lestrange nee Black, but she figured Bellatrix must have been the topic of some research into the rise and fall of Voldemort. 

 

With an appropriately Hermione sized stack of books (as Ron would say), she made her way back to the common room, stopping briefly to chat with Nearly-Headless Nick. 

 

Dobby popped in for a moment to drop off some soup as he was getting worried that Miss Hermy wasn’t eating enough for all of her important work. 

 

As she ate, she flipped through the early newspaper clippings which spoke of Bellatrix as the glittering jewel of Pureblood society, the dark eldest daughter of the Black family. It was clear that she was in high regard as early as her fourteenth birthday if Hermione’s math was correct. 

 

One article in particular caught Hermione’s eye. 

 

Cynus of House Black and Druella of House Rosier are proud to announce the engagement of their eldest daughter, Bellatrix Agrippa, to Rodolphus Lestrange, son of Randall of House Lestrange and Anastasia of House Avery. 

 

Bellatrix has recently graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizarding at the top of her class. 

 

Rodolphus has recently returned from a tour of South and Central America, where he was working to help ease business relations for his father’s investments in the region. 

 

The couple will be married in a ceremony in Fall 1968. ” 

 

The clipping was accompanied by a photo of the “happy couple”. Hermione had seen photos of Bellatrix before, screaming mad with the loss of her master, her skin sallow and hair wild. But this photo, somehow, was even worse than those. The girl in the photo looked far too young to be marrying the man behind her. Even in the photo, it was as she was constantly trying to squirm away from him, but his tight grip on her hip prevented it. 

 

Fall of 1968 meant that this would have occurred within a month of Bellatrix’s graduation. Hermione could barely even wrap her mind around going steady with Ron at this point, much less being engaged and getting married. 

 

This must be why Bellatrix was so eager to get back. She didn’t want to lose out on her fiancee, no matter how deranged he would turn out. 

 

Hermione shuddered, despite the comfortable warmth of the common room. 

 

Rodolphus was still at large as was his brother, somehow slipping away in the chaos of the battle. Hermione tried not to think too much about how many of Voldemort’s supporters disappeared, but it was hard not to when one was smirking up at her from the Prophet. 

 

She shoved the clipping away from her, reaching for one of the academic journals. 

 

Hermione fully expected an in-depth analysis of Bellatrix’s psychology or fighting style. She was certainly not expecting to find “The Application of Ancient Greek Runes in Modern Day Warding and Shield Charms by Bellatrix Black” of “The Development of Engraved Magical Artifacts for Increased Security of Self and of the Home by Bellatrix Black and Minerva McGonagall”. 

 

The first article had been published in March 1968, but the second one had been published in 1969, a year after Bellatrix had left Hogwarts. McGonagall had clearly been close to be publishing research with Bellatrix. This was raising more questions than it answered. 

 

Nonetheless, Bellatrix’s research was fascinating and Hermione couldn’t help but get sucked in. 

 

So engrossed was she, that she barely noticed when her eyes slid shut and the journal fell to the floor with a quiet thud. 

Chapter Text

chapter three. 

grip on tight to your youth

 

Hermione awoke to a pair of wide, brown eyes mere inches from her face. She blinked rapidly, her sleepy mind trying to catch up with reality. 

 

“Winky!” 

 

“G’Morning, Miss Hermione. Winky is here to wake you up.” 

 

“Huh?” 

 

“Miss Hermione is sleeping on the couch.” 

 

Hermione pushed herself into a seated position, rubbing at the inevitable crick in her neck. “Oh, right, thank you, Winky. I appreciate your concern.” The little elf twisted her hands anxiously in her shirt, her eyes fixed on her feet. “Is there something else?” 

 

“Is it true there’s a bad witch here? Kreacher says his mistress is here and Winky knows Kreacher has a bad mistress.”

 

Hermione wrinkled her nose as she tried to address Winky’s concerns. “Um, there is someone here, yes, that Kreacher may know. But, it’s a bit, er, complicated I suppose. I promise you that no one will hurt you Winky.” 

 

“Winky knows that Miss Hermione is a good witch. Winky’s friend Dobby says so.” Hermione’s heart clenched at the mention of the elf who had died saving Hermione from Bellatrix. She of course kept that information to herself. 

 

Winky is needing to tell Miss Hermione more.”  

 

“Yes, Winky?” 

 

“Miss Hermione’s friend is crying. The one up there.” Winky gestured up to the ceiling. “Winky is thinking you should know.” Winky’s gaze dropped to her feet again. “Winky is thinking you should help her.” 

 

“Thank you, Winky. I think I’ll take your advice.” The small elf blushed bright pink and nodded quickly. 

 

“Winky is needing to get back to the kitchen. Is Miss Hermione coming down for Winky’s breakfast?” 

 

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Winky.” 

 

“You is too kind, Miss Hermione.” Winky bowed deeply, a habit Hermione had yet to break her of, and apparated away. 

 

Hermione dropped her head into her hands, still trying to process the events of yesterday. The memory of Bellatrix’s sobs was seared into her memory, but it didn’t erase so many other memories. 

 

With a heavy sigh, Hermione stood to her feet, wincing as her back popped. A lazy wave of her wand cleared up her books into a neat pile out of Bellatrix’s eyeline. After a long moment trying to get her head on straight, Hermione made the long journey up to the top of Gryffindor Tower. 

 

Fingers crossed behind her back, Hermione hoped to find Bellatrix sleeping peacefully or at the very least awake. But it was not to be. One of the curtains surrounding her bed had been cut in half, the ends singed. 

 

Bellatrix whimpered, clutching desperately to her pillow. She sounded so human in that moment that Hermione didn’t even realize her feet had carried her to Bellatrix’s side until the other girl twisted wildly to the side and kicked Hermione. 

 

“Bellatrix!” Hermione tried to catch Bellatrix’s hands and still her movement but the other witch was moving too much. Hermione, in a desperate attempt to still Bellatrix, pushed her onto her back and pinned her hands above her head. Bellatrix’s movements forced Hermione to move closer until she was practically lying on top of Bellatrix. 

 

The other girl finally stilled slightly and Hermione breathed a sigh of relief. 

 

“You know, muddy, I usually prefer to be on top,” the husky, sleep-filled voice sent an involuntary shiver down Hermione’s spine. Hermione leapt backwards, eyes wide with horror. 

 

“You...you were having a nightmare. You were hurting yourself.” Bellatrix looked away quickly, her cheeks tinged with pink. She moved to sit up, wincing as her ribs continued to pull. “Are you hurt?” 

 

“One of my beaters accidentally redirected a bludger into me during our game. I didn’t bother to have it checked out by the new medi-witch, Poppycock or whatever her name is.” Bellatrix pressed a hand to her left side, wincing again, this time letting out a small whimper. “I figured I’d just have my sister take a look at it, she’s good at that sort of thing.” 

 

“Narcissa?” Hermione asked curiously. The few times she had met the Malfoy matriarch, she hadn’t gotten the impression that she was particularly empathetic or even magically gifted. But then again, one time had been at a Quidditch match, the other her sister had been torturing Hermione. 

 

Bellatrix fixed her with an odd look. “No, of course not. Andy- Andromeda.” Hermione’s heart immediately rose to her throat. She hadn’t even thought of the middle Black sister, who had lost her entire family in the war. And it was rumored that Tonks had been killed by her own aunt, who was currently sitting in front of Hermione. “Do you know Cissy?” 

 

Hermione broke out of her reverie and nodded a bit. “Um, yes, sort of, well, I went to school with her son, your nephew I guess.” 

 

“Cissy has a son? I mean of course she does, it’s thirty years.” Bellatrix scrubbed a hand over her face. “What’s his name? I’m assuming it’s with that Malfoy boy, what’s his face, the one who thinks he’s so pretty.” Hermione let out a snort of laughter. “I’ll take that as a yes,” chuckled Bellatrix, but she came up short as pain shot through her body. “For Hades’ sake, what was wrong with that bludger?” 

 

“Can I, can I take a look?” Hermione asked, her voice far gentler than before. 

 

Bellatrix cast an appraising look her way before she nodded. “I don’t see what would be wrong with that. Just no funny business, muddy.” 

 

“You continue to be so charming, Les-Black.” Hermione moved closer to the bed, feeling terribly like prey that willing walked towards a predator, even if the other girl didn’t have her wand. Bellatrix gingerly lifted up one side of her pyjama top. Hermione gasped as a large black mark covered Bellatrix’s ribs. “Sweet Jesus.” 

 

“What?” Bellatrix tried to twist to see it, but Hermione's hand on her shoulder stilled her. “Muddy, tell me what it is. Now!” 

 

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen anything like this. Are you sure it was just a bludger?” Hermione brushed her fingers across the edge of the mark, ignoring the softness of Bellatrix’s pale skin. “This looks like dark magic.” 

 

“What do you know about dark magic, muddy?” snarled Bellatrix, shoving Hermione away from her. 

 

Hermione snorted. Much of what she had learned about dark magic had been made a necessity by Bellatrix Lestrange. “Enough to know that that is the result of dark magic. I have a salve that will help make you more comfortable, but I doubt it will do much to make the mark go away.” 

 

“Do it.” 

 

Bellatrix stood to her feet and made her way over to the mirror to examine the mark while Hermione retrieved the salve from her beaded bag. Hermione wanted to pinch herself as she watched Bellatrix, her body untouched by war and prison yet. 

 

She was rather beautiful, in a dark sort of way, if you were into that sort of thing of course. Hermione forced herself to turn away before she got caught staring. 

 

“Here, sit back down on the bed and I’ll get to work.” Bellatrix nodded imperiously, her chin tipped impossibly upwards. “So, Andromeda is talented at healing magic?” Hermione asked as she spread the mixture over her own fingers. 

 

“Yes, she’s best at potions and charms, but she’s especially skilled in the healing arts. More out of necessity than anything else, but she does love it. She’s a gentle soul, my Andy.” Bellatrix smiled softly as she thought of her sister. “Once, when we were small, long before we came to Hogwarts, Andy and I came across a bird in our mother’s garden. It was a tiny thing, but it had fallen and broken its wing. Our father keeps hunting dogs at our estate so it was a wonder the little thing hadn’t been killed already. But Andy, she was bound and determined to save that bird. She cried and cried until I agreed to help her smuggle it in. So I wrapped it in my scarf and we ran back to the house and hid it under my bed. Merlin, Andy loved that little bird, called it Nymph. We got one of the house elves to help us fix the wing, but Andy couldn’t let it go, she didn’t want to release her back to the wild.” 

 

Hermione worked to spread the healing salve over the entirety of the black mark. “So what happened to the bird?” She glanced up to Bellatrix’s dark eyes, which shuttered instantaneously. 

 

Bellatrix swallowed hard before continuing. “Our mother found the bird, Cissy was still a baby so Mother had little time for us. She gave the bird to my father, who was livid. He dragged me and Andy out by our ears to his kennel where he kept his hounds. He threw that little bird in the kennel with the dogs and made us watch. Andy cried and cried, but Father didn’t care. She had nightmares for years after that. She’s still terrified of dogs and she’s going on 16 now.” Bellatrix looked away from Hermione and tried to subtly wipe a tear away from her cheeks. “Sorry, I shouldn’t be telling you all this.” 

 

Hermione tried to focus on her task at hand. It was hard enough to contend with a non-evil teenaged Bellatrix, but the image of a little girl trying to save a broken bird with her little sister was so contradictory to what she had known of the witch, it was enough to make her head spin. 

 

“No, no, it’s fine. I mean, who could I tell that would know you now?” Hermione had a quiet chuckle at that. “There, that should feel better for now. But I think it would be best if we saw the Headmistress.” 

 

“Isn’t there a medi-witch here?” 

 

“Um,” Hermione paused, unsure how to explain Madam Pomfrey's absence to Bellatrix. The Hogwarts Nurse was currently working out of St Mungo’s to watch over all the wounded from the Battle of Hogwarts as her Hospital Wing simply didn’t have the capacity to deal with the number. “She’s on leave working at St Mungo’s. Term let out early this year, which is why it’s so empty.” 

 

“I don’t suppose you would tell me why.”

 

Herrmione shook her head quickly. “Not if you want to ever return to the right time.” Hermione turned her back to Bellatrix to rummage through her trunk for some clothes for Bellatrix. “Here, you can borrow these.” She shoved a pile of clothes at Bellatrix. She quickly turned her back on the dark haired witch to give her privacy. Hermione felt the sudden urge to reorganize the various belonging she had been keeping on her desk. 

 

“So tell me, muddy, where did you sleep last night? Have some filthy little mudblood boyfriend?” 

 

Hermione spun on her heel. “I told you not to call me that...” Hermione trailed off in an almost question as she stared at Bellatrix, who was in just a bra and her pyjama bottoms. Her chest practically spilled out of the borrowed bra and her abdomen had that definition that only came from hours on the Quidditch pitch or in Hermione’s case, months on the run. 

 

Bellatrix bounced her eyebrows at Hermione in a way that must have been a family trait because Sirius had done it every time he finished a dirty joke. 

 

Hermione blinked slowly before snapping her mouth shut. “Just get dressed. And keep your prejudices to yourself, thank you very much. I’ll be waiting downstairs.” 

 

As she stormed downstairs, her fists curled at her sides. She wanted to punch something, probably Bellatrix. She was just so, so, so evil or something. How could somebody be so hateful and prejudiced? 

 

It was still after all these years inconceivable to Hermione to carry so much hatred for an entire sect of people. 

 

She was lost in thought when there was a cough behind her. 

 

Framed by the staircase and the sunlight streaming through the small window was Bellatrix, Hermione’s clothes just fractionally too big on her. She looked so soft . Like she was actually just another teenager who was stressed by the world around her and wasn’t going to become the monster Hermione knew her as. 

 

“You’re staring again, mudblood.” As she said it, the corner of Bellatrix’s mouth ticked up as if she was just waiting for Hermione to yell at her again. “Where to? McGonagall’s, I mean, the Headmaster’s office?” 

 

“I thought you might like some breakfast first. I didn’t think you managed to eat last night.” 

 

Bellatrix’s eyebrows shot up as if she barely expected any shred of kindness from Hermione. “Breakfast, breakfast would be nice.” 

 

xx 

 

After a long debate with Granger over the rights of house elves as they ate breakfast in the kitchen, Bella found herself facing McGonagall’s desk, a silver knife on the middle of the desk. 

 

“Thank you for joining me, Miss Black, Miss Granger. After consulting with my colleagues, I believe it would be best to perform a blood test. I have procured a sample to test it against and we will be able to gauge Miss Black’s place in time.” 

 

Bella swallowed back the lump that had formed in her throat. She had never much liked blood, something she always found painfully ironic given how she had grown up. “How much blood?” 

 

“Just a drop or two. Miss Granger, I will need your assistance for this.” McGonagall motioned to the knife on the table. She set a thimble sized jar down next to it, about half full of dark blood. 

 

Bella was drawn to it. This was her blood, but her blood in the future. If she was right and she was dead by now, that raised the question of how McGonagall got it in such short notice. She hadn’t exactly taken McGonagall as a grave robber, but a lot could happen in thirty years. 

 

She had been so distracted by the vial of blood that she almost missed the silent argument happening between the other two witches. Granger was pointedly refusing to touch the knife while McGonagall’s lips formed that thin line that never ended well. 

 

“Miss Granger, under normal circumstances, I would not ask such a thing of you, but given our situation, it is a necessary evil.” 

 

“What, muddy, are you a pacificist or something?” drawled Bella, mainly as a distraction from the nausea slowly building at the thought of anyone taking her blood. “Further proof, I suppose, of the superiority of purebloods over-” A flurry of movement and sound interrupted the rest of Bella’s comment.  

 

“That is quite enough, Miss Black!” 

 

Granger grabbed Bella’s left wrist forcefully, pulling her to her feet. She gingerly picked up the blade, her eyes seeking out Bella’s. Bella bit the inside of her cheek to stop the wave of fear and nausea as Granger rested the knife over her palm. She must have been unsuccessful as a flash of pity appeared in Granger’s bright eyes. 

 

Bella forced herself to watch the proceedings, her gaze fixed on the contrast of her paler skin to the tanner fingers wrapped around her wrist. Granger’s sleeve had ridden up a bit, the letters o d visible. When Granger noticed what she was looking at, she shook her arm so the sleeve covered the slur once more. 

 

“Miss Granger.” McGonagall nodded to the witch, her wand fixed on the little vial of blood. 

 

Granger drew the blade across her palm, a bright line of blood appearing instantly. She maneuvered Bella’s hand until a few drops of blood fell into the vial. As soon as it was done, Granger pushed here away, leaving Bellatrix to cradle her hand and attempt not to get blood on the borrowed sweater. 

 

But the cut on her hand was of little concern as she watched McGonagall tapped the vial three times and murmured, “ Sanguinis veritatem .” The vial turned from dark red to green to gold, before turning pitch black. 

 

Bella searched McGonagall’s face for any indication of what the colors meant. From over the older witch’s shoulder, she could see the portraits of former headmasters straining to see. 

 

“Black, that must be good for me, right?” Bella asked, ignoring the somewhat hysterical note to her voice. “Professor, what does that mean?” 

 

“To put it simply, you are the same person.” 

 

“Yes, I understand that, that was never in doubt. Please, what does that mean for my returning to 1968? I’ve already been away for too long.” 

 

Granger gasped, her hand flying up to cover her mouth. “No, you can’t mean…” She twisted to stare at Bella who looked increasingly more perplexed. “But Professor, isn’t that impossible? To rise from the dead?”

 

“Rise from the dead?” Bella’s voice cracked as a touch of madness slipped in. “What are you two on about?” 

 

“I believe what my venerable successor and Miss Granger are attempting to say, Miss Black,” began Dumbledore’s portrait form over McGonagall’s shoulder, apparently now awake after the ritual, “is that you died in 1998, but by some miracle of death, you have returned from the dead, but not as you were when you died, but rather as you were in 1968. It would seem that somebody thinks you deserve a second chance.” 

 

“A second chance from what? How did I die?” Bella was quickly reaching hysterical levels. “The last thing I remember is a Quidditch match for Merlin’s sake! In 1968! I don’t want to be here!” 

 

“Miss Black, Bellatrix, please calm down!” McGonagall cried as sparks of magic flew from Bella’s fingertips. 

 

“Calm down! Why should I calm down when you’ve just told me I’ve been stolen away from 1968 because I died in 1998.” 

 

“Not so much stolen, I would say, as duplicated. Obviously, Minerva and Miss Granger know you in 1998, so you clearly existed and lived your life to its course. It is merely this form and this moment in time that Death has chosen for you to attempt again. Do you remember anything from before you woke yesterday morning?” 

 

“Yes!” shouted Bella, “I remember a bleeding Quidditch match!” 

 

Dumbledore did manage a chuckle at this, although the other pair of witches were far less amused. “No, my dear, perhaps from your fainting spell, do you remember anything occuring while you were unconscious?” 

 

Bella sank back against the chair, a pounding behind her eyes. She pressed her fingers to her temples. “Something about… something about a scar on the world, that I… that I need to repair?”

 

“You have done a fair bit of damage,” mumbled Granger partially under her breath. 

 

“It would seem, Miss Black, that you have been given a chance to repair what you have done in your lifetime.” McGonagall said as if speaking to a small child in the midst of a tantrum. “This is a great opportunity you have been given.” 

 

“I didn’t ask for this!” 

 

“Perhaps not in 1968, but you may have in 1998,” McGonagall explained, watching Bella as if she expected her to implode at the drop of a hat. “I know this must be difficult, but you have already lived out your life and you have been given a second chance, a chance to fix things, things you may not even remember, but a chance nonetheless.” 

 

Bella couldn’t help but wonder what she had done that was so terrible to warrant this. She figured it must have been bad enough that the two witches instantly knew who she was. What could be so evil that it requires reincarnation? 

 

“If I might make a suggestion, Minerva, I would advise fetching Mrs. Malfoy and Mrs. Tonks.” Bella’s head snapped towards the portrait. It was no leap of intelligence to figure out who Mrs. Malfoy was, but Tonks, the name sounded vaguely familiar, as if she had heard it in passing once before, but could not place it. Whoever this Mrs. Tonks was, they weren’t a pure blood. Perhaps it was some sort of Ministry official. There must be paperwork involved with rising from the dead. 

 

However, McGonagall looked absolutely incensed, as if smoke were poised to spew from her nostrils. “Absolutely not, Albus! I will not fetch her, not on the day of the Lupin’s funeral!” 

 

Dumbledore’s smile faltered, the ever present glitter disappearing. Bella glanced towards Granger, hoping she could clarify what had happened, but the other girl just looked like she might be sick or maybe even cry. 

 

“Who are you talking about?” Bella blurted out, her curiosity getting the better of her. 

 

“We will discuss this later, Bellatrix. I would advise that you and Miss Granger return to Gryffindor Tower at once. Miss Granger, I have arranged a portkey for us to leave at 2 o’clock.” McGonagall spoke stiffly, but Bella could swear she could see a tear in the corner of her eye. 

 

Bella paused, almost wanting to argue the point further, but deciding against it. Already it seemed as if neither witch here was on her side and it seemed a waste to push them too far over something as trivial as a name. At least push McGonagall too far. She was far less concerned with Granger. 

 

Once they were well away from the Headmistress’s office, Bellatrix asked, “Who are the Lupins?” 

 

“Friends of mine that died.” 

 

“How did they die?” 

 

“Leave it alone.” A wiser witch might have left well enough alone had they heard that tone, but Bellatrix had never claimed to be wise. Many other things, but not necessarily wise. 

 

“I’m just trying to find out what’s happening. Muddy, c’mon, I have just been vaulted 30 years in the future and apparently the two people who the old man thinks could help me, one of which is my baby sister, who’s now decades older than me, and I can’t see them because of somebody’s name that I’ve never even heard of. Just tell me who they are.” Bellatrix reach out and caught Granger’s sleeve, halting her progress down the hall. 

 

Granger spun around, forcing Bella against a nearby wall. She jammed her wand under the other girl’s chin, not unlike how Bellatrix had once done to her. “I said leave it alone. Not everything revolves around you. You have just made everything infinitely more complicated. You should’ve stayed dead, you psycho.” Bella visibly gulped, her dark eyes fixed on Granger’s amber ones. 

 

Bella blinked up at Granger, aware of a handful of things. One: Granger smelled like jasmine and fresh parchment. Two: Her body didn’t hate the feeling of Granger’s body pressed against hers even if the rest of her did. And three: she was so utterly beyond overwhelmed and terrified. 

 

She now at least knew Cissy was alive and had a son. But she had no clue where Andy was and it felt wrong. Since Andy had been born, the two eldest Black girl had rarely been apart, except for Bella’s first two years at Hogwarts. 

 

She didn’t want to be a child, but she so desperately wanted her sister there, the only one who knew how to deal with her moods and comfort her and patch up her wounds. 

 

As Bella remained pliant under Granger, waiting for the other girl to move, she was surprised to see the disgust in the amber eyes. Granger shoved away from her, neatly catching Bella’s bad side with an elbow. 

 

Bella hunched over a bit, coughing. “Message received, muddy, loud and clear.”

Chapter Text

chapter four. 

what are men to rocks and mountains

 

It was a sunny day when Nymphadora and Remus Lupin were buried. Teddy Lupin screamed and cried the whole time in his grandmother and then his godfather’s arms. 

 

Hermione started crying when Harry gave his speech, his green eyes shining as he spoke of the first time Lupin taught him the Patronus charm. Ron wrapped a long arm around her shoulder while she silently cried into his handkerchief. When it came time for Hermione to give her speech, Andromeda Tonks had patted her hand kindly and said, “You’ll do great, I’m sure.” 

 

Hermione’s insides twisted painfully as she catalogued the similarities between Bellatrix and Andromeda. The little bird, Nymph, rose to the surface of her thoughts as she walked forward, watching Tonks wink at her from her picture. 

 

Her speech went by in a blur; Hermione herself could barely remember it, but it was memorable enough, even amongst the likes of Harry and Kingsley Shacklebolt, that Andromeda came over and thanked her personally. 

 

“Miss Granger-” 

 

“Please, Mrs. Tonks, call me Hermione.” 

 

Andromeda smiled kindly at her, the lines around her eyes becoming more pronounced. “Then you must call me Andromeda. My daughter was very fond of you.” Andromeda’s eyes, which seemed so similar to young Bellatrix’s, filled with something that tugged at Hermione’s heart strings, a mother’s heartbreak. “You’re a muggleborn, right?” 

 

“Yes, ma’am.” Hermione marvelled at the differences between the woman standing before her and the teenager hidden away in Gryffindor Tower. One had fallen in love with a muggle born and abandoned her life for him. The other sneered and snarled like a feral dog whenever a muggle born even came near her. 

 

“None of that ‘ma’am’ nonsense! I’m not your professor,” teased Andromeda, a sort of forced levity in her tone, “Nymphadora said you two shared a fondness for some muggle band. She always loved to find fellow wizards who shared her love for the muggle world. She and my husband shared that. Always going off to see those muggle moving pictures,” 

 

“Films,” Hermione supplied gently. 

 

“Yes, films. You see, despite living with a muggle born for all those years, I’m still not very proficient in the muggle world. But I want Teddy to understand where he comes from. And given how highly my daughter, and my son-in-law for that matter, spoke of you, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d help Teddy learn about the muggle world.” 

 

Hermione’s mouth dropped slightly open in shock as the older witch spoke. When she finished, Hermione had to shake her head a bit to focus. “Oh, wow, that would be my pleasure. I mean, Harry also grew up in the muggle world, maybe we could take Teddy on some field trips to the muggle world.” 

 

“What’s this about field trips?” Harry asked as he joined them, bouncing Teddy on his hip. The baby was currently sporting jet black hair to match his godfather and seemed to have the beginnings of a scar on his forehead. 

 

Hermione explained what Andromeda had suggested. Harry, of course, was all for the idea as he babbled on about the zoo. 

 

And while Hermione was more than happy to help out Tonks and Professor Lupin’s son, she simply felt exhausted after yet another funeral. Harry, bless him, picked up on this and after redirecting Andromeda towards Mrs. Weasley, tugged her to the side. 

 

“How’re you holding up?”

Hermione chuckled, “I feel like I should be asking you that.” 

 

Shrugging a shoulder, Harry managed a sheepish grin. “I’m keeping busy, you know, helping Kingsley at the Ministry with the Aurors and all.” 

 

“That’s great, Harry.” She managed a smile, but it felt heavy with the thought of Bellatrix Black. She had ruined everyone here’s lives and she was currently wearing one of Hermione’s favorite sweaters. “Really, I’m glad you’re keeping busy.” 

 

“How are things at Hogwarts?” 

 

“A mess to be frank. Professor McGonagall and I have been working on the Great Hall, but it still seems so broken.” Harry patted her shoulder in his awkward, brotherly, Harry way. “It’s nice to have something to be doing. I think I would’ve gone crazy just sitting around.” 

 

“I get that. It’s good to keep busy.” Hermione’s gaze shifted towards the grave stones where Tonks and Professor Lupin would lie forever. She would never get to finish her debate with Lupin over the appropriateness of House Elves. She would never argue with Tonks over whether or not she should dye or cut her hair. They would never get to watch their son attend Hogwarts or even take his first steps. It all felt so pointless. 

 

Teddy let out a particularly loud shriek in his grandmother’s arms, drawing Hermione’s attention. A very uncomfortable looking Narcissa Malfoy stood next to her sister, an expensive dark cloak wrapped around her shoulders. The two sisters stood slightly away from everyone, Narcissa in particular looking as if she would bolt at any moment. Hermione was particularly struck by the blonde as she had watched Bellatrix doing just that only hours ago. 

 

“I thought the Malfoys were under house arrest.” 

 

Harry shrugged one shoulder. “Kingsley gave Mrs. Malfoy special permission for today after Andromeda came to see him. I mean, like half of the people here are aurors and the other half are in the Order. Plus, she wouldn’t do anything to risk Draco.” 

 

“Andromeda wanted her here?” The last Hermione knew the middle Black sister had no contact with any of her family and hadn’t for the past nearly thirty odd years. 

 

Harry nodded. “Yeah, I guess that she and Narcissa have had some informal communication over the years and when she heard they were under house arrest she went to speak with her. One of the positives to come out of all this.” 

 

“Yes, Harry Potter winning wars, bringing families together since 1981.” Harry chuckled, nudging her with his elbow. 

 

It felt so freeing to laugh. Everything had been so terrible for so long and even though it was over, it just didn’t feel over. Bellatrix’s appearance was more than proof of that. 

 

“What’re we laughing about?” A heavy arm wrapped around her waist as Ron joined them. 

 

“Narcissa Malfoy,” Harry said through his laugh. 

 

Ron furrowed his brow, staring at his best friend as if he had lost his mind. “What’s so funny about Draco’s mum?” 

 

“Nothing,” Hermione soothed, curling further into Ron’s side. 

 

“Are you comin’ over to mine for dinner tonight, Mione? Mum’s making roast.” 

 

“Sure, as good as Winky’s cooking is, it’d be nice to be away from the castle for a little bit.” 

 

“I don’t understand how you’re doing it, just locked up with McGonagall, I’d’ve gone barmy.” Ron chuckled at his own joke. “Harry mate, you coming as well?” 

 

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

 

xx 

 

Bella was, for lack of a better word, bored out of her damned mind. The girl Granger and Professor McGonagall had locked her away in Gryffindor Tower with nothing to do nor any indication of when they would return. After the morning she had, she wasn’t sure if that was a blessing or a curse. 

 

She struggled to properly wrap her mind around the fact that she had been thrust thirty years into the future. A future where she was dead for who knows how long. 

 

It sounded like a bad plotline out of those serials Andy liked. 

 

She sighed heavily, turning away from the window in the dorm. (Not that she’d ever admit it, but the Gryffindors had a better view than the dungeon.) 

 

She needed something to distract her before she lost her mind going over the possibilities of this future. 

 

Had she been transported to the future with her trunk, she would have been more than happy. Her trunk was filled to the brim with books and parchment and other tools for her runic research. But instead she was stuck in a small room with literally nothing to do other than conjure little amusements with her wand. 

 

She spent the first hour or so trying to undo the wards Granger put up around the Tower, but she had to admit the mudblood knew her stuff. Her wards were at least as strong as the ones her father had put up around her bedroom at home. 

 

Well, not home anymore, she supposed. One upside of all of this was that the bastard must have been dead for ages now. And if he wasn’t, well, Bella would be more than happy to remedy that.   

 

Flinging one last blasting charm at the door that dissipated into nothingness, Bella began to search through Granger’s things. It was what the girl deserve, locking Bella up like she was some sort of criminal.  

 

Bella was only able to get to the first layer of her trunk, the rest hidden behind a complex runic lock. She was mildly intrigued by the lock, the magic pulsating off of it. At some point, it might be worth cracking, but for now, Bella would continue to rifle through Granger’s things. So far she had found a few scraps of parchment with scribled notes about some sort of house elf rights campaign and a spare pair of socks. 

 

It wasn’t until Bella checked under the bed that she found anything of interest. She tugged the box of books out, hoping for even an old school textbook or something. 

 

“For Morgana’s sake, it’s fucking muggle books.” Bella dropped back onto her heels, shoving the books away. 

 

On the one hand, she had no interest in the prattling of muggles. On the other hand, she was so very bored. And even better, her parents would be rolling over in their graves if they knew she was reading muggle texts. 

 

It was good to know that even thirty years in the future find ways to infuriate her father. 

 

The Great Gatsby , sounds pretentious, you shouldn’t have to give yourself titles. Nineteen Eighty Four , well, I’ve already missed that so no point. Dracula , that’s a wizard book already, what a scam. The Age of Innocence ,” Bella let a high laugh bubble out of her chest, “I haven’t been innocent since that summer we spent in Normandy and Marie Devereux.” She tossed the book into her reject pile. “ Les Miserables , Merlin, the French are dramatic. Pride and Prejudice .” Bella traced her fingers over the cover. A still picture of a man and a woman stared back at her on the worn, well abused cover. “Granger did call me prejudiced today, so might as well.” 

 

Bella settled back on her bed with the book, flicking through the pages with semi-interest. 

 

She was completely engrossed in the book by the time McGonagall came to free her from her temporary jail. So engrossed that she didn’t notice McGonagall walk in, too busy cursing Elizabeth’s harsh rejection of Darcy.

 

Bella couldn’t comprehend somebody turning away someone of standing, who at least professed to care, in favor of possible spinsterhood or worse an arranged marriage. Although she’d curse someone before admitting it, Bella loved romance novels, just as her middle sister did, holding out hope for some romantic hero to sweep her away from the living nightmare that was her life. 

 

“Bellatrix,” McGonagall’s cool voice broke through Bella’s inner dialogue, causing the girl to start and drop the book. “I don’t mean to disturb you, but I wished to inform you that I had returned.” 

 

Bella swung her legs over the bed to face the professor, discreetly shoving the muggle book under her pillow. “Where’s the girl?” 

 

“She’s away for the evening.” 

 

“Hot date?” The pinched expression on McGonagall’s face told her more than enough. She supposed after how ever many years McGonagall had been teaching, student romances were more a point of irritation than enthusiasm. “You don’t approve?” 

 

“Mr. Weasley has his merits.” 

 

“Weasley? You mean like that Gryffindor in my year? The ginger blood traitor obsessed with muggles?” The look McGonagall shot her way was nothing short of hostile. “Right, sorry, I won’t insult your Lions anymore, Minnie.” 

 

“Miss Black!” Bella raised her hands in surrender, mumbling another apology. “Bellatrix, it would be in your best interest to cease spouting your father’s rhetoric. Times have changed and such ignorance will not be tolerated in this climate.” Bella pulled a face at the comparison to her father. “Come, dear, let us have a spot of tea, it’s been a long day.” 

 

“How was the funeral?” asked Bellatrix as she followed the older woman down to the common room. 

 

The color drained from McGonagall’s face as she conjured a tea set to the table. She looked old, even older than she had seemed after thirty years. “It is, it is…” Her voice pitched up as if fighting back tears. “It is always difficult to bury one’s students.”  

 

“The, er, Lupins, they were students of yours? I don’t think I knew any Lupins at Hogwarts, but I suppose I wouldn’t know the younger years.” Bella lowered into one of the cushy chairs in front of the 

 

“No, you wouldn’t have known either. They were after your time. Although, Remus, he did outscore you on your NEWTs by a quarter of a point.” Bella perked up at that. She had forgotten all about her NEWTs. 

 

“A quarter of a point?” 

 

“Hm?” McGonagall paused in her preparation of the tea. “Oh, well, I tend to keep track of my highest scoring students.”

 

“Highest scoring? This is so strange. I mean, I haven’t even taken my NEWTs yet, and yet, I have all at once. You’d think this would be creating a paradox or something.” Bella graciously accepted her cup of tea. “I don’t suppose I could see my NEWTs, since technically, I’ve already taken them.” 

 

McGonagall watched her curiously for a moment before nodding. “Yes, I suppose so.” 

 

“Professor, I have been wondering, where are all the students? Obviously the castle is in disrepair, but it’s the middle of May. Shouldn’t there at the very least be fifth and seventh years here for their exams?” 

 

Bella knew McGonagall was hiding something, she just didn’t know what. “I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to explain at this moment, Bellatrix. I am, as of yet, unsure what to do with you.”

 

“What to do with me? What are they going to lock me up or something?” 

 

“Precisely my concern, dear.” Bella’s mouth fell open. 

 

“You’re not serious, are you?” But Bella could already tell from the look in McGonagall’s eye that this was a matter of utmost importance. “As in Azkaban?” McGonagall nodded again. A shiver rushed down Bella’s spine. “I think I’d go mad in there.” 

 

Screams. So much screaming. It wouldn’t stop. Why wouldn’t it stop? Why couldn’t everyone just be quiet? 

 

And then, Bella realized it was because she was the one who was screaming. 

 

“Bellatrix, Bellatrix.” A hand cradled her head gently. 

 

“Huh?” Bella shot up violently, nearly smashing into McGonagall in front of her. She felt as if all the life had been sucked out of her, like she had been frozen to death. “What happened?” 

 

McGonagall, her brow seriously creased, said, “I’m not entirely sure. You seemed to have some sort of episode, a fit I suppose. Has this ever happened before?” 

 

Bella froze at the mention of an episode. She had heard whispers amongst the Pure Blood circles of the Black Madness, the curse upon her family that had led many into darkness. There were whispers that her father was affected by it as well as her aunt. It couldn’t happen to her. She wasn’t mad. She had never shown signs of insanity. 

 

“N-n-no,” she stuttered out, cursing her weakness. “I’ve never passed out. I’ve never felt anything like this.” 

 

“Like what?” McGonagall prompted. 

 

“Like I’d never be warm or cheerful again. Like all the light was gone from the world. And the screaming. There was so much screaming, but I was the one who was screaming. And I couldn’t stop.” Bella pinched the bridge of her nose, trying to stave off a headache. A bar of chocolate was pressed into her hand. She looked questioningly at her professor.

 

“It sounds as if you had an encounter with a dementor.” 

 

“A dementor? I’ve never even seen one. I mean, I’ve studied them and can produce a patronus during Defense Against the Dark Arts, but I’ve never encountered one. I think there was a cousin of my mother’s who tried experimenting on one and got the Kiss for his trouble.” Another shudder went down Bella’s spine. 

 

McGonagall patted Bella’s shoulder in what must have been intended as a soothing touch, but Bella couldn’t shake the feeling of despair that seemed to lodge itself in the very essence of her soul. “Eat the chocolate, it’ll help.” 

 

Bella took a tentative bite, sighing as a bit of warmth seemed to move through her body. “Where’d you get the chocolate?” 

 

McGonagall chuckled, “My students have long kept a stash of illicit food in the common room. They believe I don’t know about it, but they often forget that I was once a student too.” 

 

Somehow the image of McGonagall at her age was almost as terrifying as a dementor. 

 

Bella polished off the chocolate bar, seeming to be back to normal. “So I was one of your highest scorers of all time?” She asked with a smirk. “Does that mean that I don’t need to retake my NEWTs in this time?” 

 

“Yes, you were. But as for the state of your NEWTs in 1998, I am not yet sure. For the time being, I think Hogwarts will be the safest and least-troubling option for you.” 

 

“Surely I can just stay at one of the Black family properties. I’m sure one of my Uncle Orion’s sons, whichever is head of the house, would be more than happy to accomodate me, given my circumstance. Merlin that’s strange to think, Sirius hadn’t even gotten his Hogwarts letter yet, he was more concerned with bringing in frogs from Mother’s garden. And Reggie, he’s just a baby.” 

 

As was becoming habit, McGonagall’s expression pinched. “I’m afraid to inform you that the male line of House Black is extinct.” 

 

Bella’s mouth fell open. “What?” That was just impossible. That meant that both of her cousins were dead. “So then who is the head of house? Andromeda?” 

 

“I would assume it has passed to your sister, Narcissa or her son, Draco.” 

 

“Two things,” Bella held up two things, “First off, of course Narcissa named her son something as dramatic as Draco. Secondly, why wouldn’t it pass to Andromeda as the older sister?”

 

“I would assume that given your youngest sister has a son, the line would pass through her.” There was something McGonagall still wasn’t telling her about Andy.

 

“Does Andy have children? She always wanted a lot of children.” 

 

If possible, McGonagall looked even more pained. “A daughter.” 

 

“Wild.” Bella shook her head. Just a day ago, her sister had been going on and on about how dreamy Steve Laughalots’ hair was. And now she apparently had a daughter. 

 

Things just kept getting stranger and stranger. 

 

xx 

 

If there was one thing Hermione felt she could always rely on, it was that Molly Weasley’s cooking was always impeccable. 

 

“Really, Mrs. Weasley, that was phenomenal as always.” Hermione leaned back in her chair, feeling just ever so bloated. Harry managed to pull himself out of his Ginny-induced haze to echo her sentiments. 

 

“I’d be happy to share the recipe with you, dear.” Mrs. Weasley smiled kindly at her as magiced the dishes to the sink. “I have a whole books of recipes I’ve been saving for my boys’ wives and Ginny. I gave Fleur a copy for her wedding, although I don’t think she’s been using it. Why, last time I went to go see them in Shell Cottage Fleur made me some sort of French chicken, because it certainly wasn’t my roast chicken recipe.” She inhaled sharply, offended by the very idea that her son’s wife wouldn’t be cooking her recipes. 

 

“Um, Mrs. Weasley, do you realize that Ron and I have only just started dating?” 

 

A tense quiet fell over the room as the other occupants of the room glanced between Hermione and the Weasley matriarch. Her husband tried to cut in with a question for Harry about muggle football, but was spoken over by his wife. “Yes, yes, dear, but we all saw this coming. It’s only a matter of time.” 

 

“With all due respect, Mrs. Weasley, we’re only seventeen, there’s no need to jump to any decisions here. I’m still in the process of finishing my degree and there’s much I’d like to accomplish before committing to marriage.” 

 

Harry and Ginny both sunk in their chairs -- clearly they had had this discussion with Mrs. Weasley already. 

 

“Seventeen? Arthur and I were married at seventeen. I had Bill not long after my eighteenth birthday. Seventeen is certainly not too young as you three proved this past year, galavanting around the country fighting dark wizards.” She rounded on Harry and Ron, who both flushed red. “Really, Hermione, I know that you don’t come from a magical background so you don’t understand some of our ways.” 

 

“Now, Molly-” 

 

“But it is widely accepted that wizards and witches tend to marry young. Take Harry’s parents for example,” she motioned to the boy in question. “If I recall correctly, your parents married immediately after their graduation.” 

 

Harry scratched at the back of his neck. “I mean, I dunno, I think the whole war going on might have factored into that.” 

 

Mrs. Weasley scoffed, focusing back on Hermione. “Regardless, my point still stands. I think you would be foolish to not have marriage in mind by the turn of the New Year. You and Ronald have known each other for so long. It only makes sense. That goes for you two as well,” she declared, pointing at her youngest child and her boyfriend with zeal. With that, she disappeared back into her kitchen, apparently content with her lecturing. 

 

“I should really be getting back to Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall and I are planning on finishing the reconstruction of one of the staircases in the morning.” They had no such plans, but Hermione wasn’t going to risk another one of Molly Weasley’s lectures. 

 

As Mrs. Weasley spoke of marriage at seventeen, Hermione couldn’t help but think of the engagement announcement she read the night before. The image of a seventeen-year-old Bellatrix held in place by her fiance burned in her memory. 

 

“I’ll walk you out.” Ron jumped to his feet, eagerness written across his face. 

 

As she walked by, Ginny caught her sleeve. “Hermione, really, don’t listen to Mum. She’s still having issues with the end of the war and everything. She doesn’t mean everything she say.” Only Hermione was pretty sure that Molly Weasley meant everything she said. 

 

Ron hooked his arm through hers as they walked out into the garden. 

 

“Why didn’t you say anything to your mum?” 

 

“Oh come on, ‘Mione, you know what she’s like. It wouldn’t’ve done any good once she’s on a roll.” 

 

“So you disagree then with what she said, that we should be getting married by the end of the year.” 

 

“I mean…” 

 

“You can’t be serious, Ron!” Hermione took a sharp step away from Ron, unwilling to be in contact with him. “Ron, be reasonable. I will be graduating from Hogwarts and then going into a career of my choosing. I will not just be a little housewife for you!” 

 

Ron held up his hands defensively. “I never asked you to be! But Hermione, you gotta know. This, you, us, this is it for me. I know it. I think I’ve always known.” Hermione couldn’t help but melt a bit at the earnest expression in Ron’s eyes. She softened a bit, brushing her fingertips through his hair. He caught her free hand and brought it to his lips. “Love you, Mione.” 

 

“I love you too, Ron. I’m sorry we fought. But I do need to be getting back to Hogwarts before it’s too late.” She moved up to her tiptoes to press a chaste kiss to his mouth, which he was more than eager to reciprocate. 

 

“Have a good night, Hermione, sleep well.” He hugged her tight once more before letting her go out to the boundary line. 

 

Hermione retrieved the portkey and activated it. Moments later, she found herself in the common room, the remnants of a casual dinner for two out by the fire. 

 

Sighing to herself over the events of the evening, Hermione trudged up to her quarters. A dim light illuminated the corridor from under the door. 

 

As she pushed the door open, she almost forgot about her unwilling roommate. Bellatrix was propped up on her bed, a candle floating near her head, her nose in a book. 

 

Bellatrix started, nearly knocking into the candle and setting her curls alight. Then a lazy smirk appeared. “You’re back late, Granger. What, date with the blood traitor didn’t go well?” 

 

Hermione narrowed her eyes as she focused on what Bellatrix was reading. “Rich from you given you’re reading a muggle book.” 

 

Bellatrix shrugged one shoulder. “You didn’t leave me with anything to occupy myself so I was forced to adapt. It’s well done, for a muggle.” 

 

“You do realize Pride and Prejudice is one of the most celebrated books of all time?” Hermione asked, crossing over to her side of the room where Bellatrix had left a mess of books. 

 

Bellatrix let out a semi-impressed noise. “Hm, interesting. Although I have to say, I want to slap Elizabeth sometimes.” 

 

Hermione chuckled. “I have often wanted to slap Darcy as well. It’s the nature of Austen’s writing.” Without further conversation, Hermione slipped into her pyjamas and then her bed. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Bellatrix read the last few pages of the book. Her face was wonderfully expressive and open as she read, unlike most of the time where she was a closed book. 

 

Bellatrix snapped the book shut and tossed it onto the bedside table. “That was acceptable, I suppose.” 

 

“I’m sure Jane Austen will be glad to hear you approve.” 

 

Bellatrix rolled her eyes and extinguished the candle. 

 

“Hey Granger?” 

 

“Yes, Bellatrix?” 

 

“Are you ever going to tell me your first name?” 

 

Hermione sighed heavily. She supposed there was no risk in telling Bellatrix at this point, given she was permanently in 1998. “Hermione.” 

 

There was a rustle of movement on Bellatrix’s side. “Like the daughter of Menelaus and Helen? Or like the Shakespeare character?” 

 

“You’ve read Shakespeare?” 

 

“There’s an awful lot you don’t know about me, Granger. You’ve only known me for what, two days?” 

 

That was certainly true, but Hermione couldn’t help but think that she wouldn’t mind getting to know Bellatrix Black a bit more.     

Chapter Text

chapter five. 

where our designs have failed

 

Every morning, since that nightmarish night in March, Hermione had studied the scarring on her forearm. Sometimes it bled painfully, as if Bellatrix had infused it with her very malice (which Hermione wouldn’t put past her). Other times it faded white against her skin, almost indiscernible. To be frank, Hermione was convinced the mark was cursed in one way or another. 

 

One thing she was certain of was that she would never be rid of the brand. She would never be able to forget what she was, a mudblood. Sometimes, that was enough motivation for her. It propelled her for seven years. To prove society wrong, that a mudblood could be the brightest witch of her generation, despite their prejudices. But other times, she knew, deep down, that nothing would be enough. She would always be that odd little muggle girl on the train seven years ago, just a little bit too keen, just a little bit too muggle. 

 

And Bellatrix Lestrange had carved that into her skin so she would never have any delusions to the contrary. Hermione practically ought to thank Bellatrix. Maybe it would save her some heartbreak. 

 

Hermione shook her head. That was insane. 

 

She rolled onto her back, tearing her gaze away from the slur. Sunlight had just began to seep through the window, but for the past year, Hermione had become accustomed to sleeping little and sleeping lightly. Such was life on the run from the entire world. 

 

She propped herself up slightly to observe her roommate. 

 

The dark haired girl evidently tossed in her sleep as the blankets twisted around her legs in a pile, leaving her upper half exposed. Even from her bed, Hermione could see the light definition of Bellatrix’s abdomen where her top had ridden up to her ribcage. 

 

Merlin, she was pretty. She had that dark beauty of film stars long gone, a sort of ethereal essence that ensnare the viewer. Bellatrix’s stint in Azkaban stood testament to her beauty as the witch’s beauty was still evident even after wasting away for fourteen years. 

 

“Stop staring at me, Granger, it’s creepy,” grunted Bellatrix, rolling onto her stomach and burying her face in the pillow. 

 

Hermione instantly flushed, diverting her gaze. 

 

“I wasn’t staring,” said Hermione, but she barely convinced herself, much less Bellatrix. 

 

“Whatever helps you sleep at night, Granger.” 

 

xx 

 

“Morning girls,” McGonagall greeted as the two witches joined her in the kitchens. “I wasn’t sure if you’d be staying over at Mr. Weasley’s or not.” Her statement was joined by a knowing lift of her eyebrows. 

 

Bella stifled a chuckle in her hand, still trying to wrap her head around the pretty mudblood with one of that bumbling oaf Weasley’s offspring. And probably with the Prewett girl. Bella had stumbled upon them locked away in a classroom while on prefect rounds one too many times for her liking. 

 

Granger pinned her with a withering stare, which only made Bella want to laugh more. Granger huffed out a breath before taking her seat. 

 

An elf appeared at Bella’s elbow, immediately bowing until his nose touched the floor. “Miss Bella, Kreacher is honored to see you,” the elf’s voice trembled in fear, unwilling to look up. “Kreacher apologizes, Master Sirius and the boy tricked Kreacher. Kreacher is sorry. Kreacher swears he would never do anything to hurt Miss Bella or Miss Cissy.” Bella stared down at the elf clutching at the hem of her trousers. Kreacher, as in her Aunt Walburga’s nutty elf? 

 

“Get off of me, elf!” Not since her nursemaid Tinsey had an elf touched her in anyway. 

 

Kreacher backed away, keeping his back parallel to the floor. “Kreacher means no disrespect to Miss Bella. Kreacher is loyal to the Blacks. Kreacher meant no disrespect fighting against the Dark Lord. Kreacher was misled by Master ‘Arry. Kreacher would never harm a member of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.” 

 

Bella looked desperately to McGonagall and Granger, hoping one of them would intervene as quite frankly she hadn’t the faintest idea what the elf was on about. 

 

“Kreacher, why don’t you give Miss Bella some space?” Granger said gently, approaching the elderly elf. The elf’s eyes bounced between Granger and Bella herself, confusion evident in those big orbs. 

 

“Kreacher,” Bella began struck by a stroke of inspiration. If McGonagall and Granger wouldn’t tell her what happened to her family, she was sure the mad little elf would, “what happened to Sirius and Regulus? And what of my sister, do you remember her, Andy?” 

 

Kreacher collapsed on the floor, clutching at his knees as he rocked back and forth. “Blood traitors and filth, muggle lovers and half breeds. Oh how Kreacher’s mistress’s house has been dirtied. Blood traitors, mudblood, filth,” moaned Kreacher. The other house elves gave him a wide berth, some muttering under their breath, shaking their heads. “Miss Bella, Kreacher tried, Kreacher tried. Blood traitors and muggle lovers and half breeds and mixed breed pups.” He let out a long wail. 

 

“Kreacher! That is enough!” Hermione spoke, although her voice wavered. Then in a gentler voice, she said, “Why don’t you go find Winky and have her give you a spot of brandy? And then maybe have a visit with Master Harry.” 

 

Kreacher, now prone on the ground, clutched at a chain around his neck. Bella squinted to get a better look at it. 

 

“Is that Salazar Slytherin’s locket?” 

 

“No!” wailed Kreacher, rolling away from Bella. “Master Regulus took it. It is Kreacher’s! Master Harry said it was Kreacher’s!” 

 

Hermione beckoned to a few of the other house elves. “Will you please help Kreacher? Lommy? Folkey?” 

 

“Of course, Miss Hermione!” The elves chorused in their high pitched tones. “We is happy to help, Miss Hermione.” The elves lifted Kreacher off the ground as he continued to wail about blood traitors and half breeds and filth, all while clutching that locket. 

 

Bella stood back aways, stunned into silence. The elf was broken or defective. 

 

“Black?” Granger laid a hand on Bella’s arm gently. 

 

Bella immediately shrugged her hand off. “Don’t touch me, filthy mudblood.” 

 

Anger and hurt flashed in Granger’s frustratingly intoxicating eyes. 

 

“Now, Miss Black, I understand this must be stressful for you-” 

 

“Stressful!” Bella’s voice reached a pitch that caused the other two to flinch back. “Yes, stressful is one word for it. Not that either of you would understand.” She twisted on her heel and took off running through the door, out into the castle. 

 

She didn’t stop running until she reached the Quidditch pitch. Her breath caught in her throat as she took in the damage done to her favorite place at Hogwarts. The stands were practically still smoldering, barely even standing. And the goal posts had been torn from the earth as if by giants.  Who could do something like this? 

 

Bella stumbled towards the shed where the spare brooms were kept, operating primarily on muscle memory at this point. A simple Alohamora and Bella was up in the air. 

 

She only hovered about ten feet above the ground, reclining against the broom. If she closed her eyes, she could almost pretend that any minute now Andy would be out to toss a quaffle with her while Cissy complained they didn’t spend enough time with her. 

 

Would she ever get to see her sisters again? She hadn’t even seen Cissy the night before she was plucked out of time. Cissy was too little for the house parties and quite frankly, disapproved of Bella’s drinking. 

 

And Andy, the pitying look she had shot Bella when she saw Bella sneaking out with Elnora Hawke burned in Bella’s memory. The worry and the concern that had seemed to become an essential part of Andy in the past year tore at Bella’s heart. Why didn’t she leave Elnora Hawke and go spend time with her sister? 

 

Well, that was easy enough. Elnora Hawke was easily one of the most beautiful girls Bella had ever seen with her soft golden curls and full lips and cheeks. And also one of the most ruthless bitches Bella had ever had the misfortune of meeting. The American reminded Bella of molten gold, beautiful, but dangerous if you got too close. So when Elnora cornered her in the common room and promised a reward for her victory, Bella was in no position to say no. 

 

(And anyway, who knows if she’d ever have a chance for sex with someone who wasn’t that pig?) 

 

“‘Ey! You there! Nobody’s ‘lowed on school grounds until the castle’s fixed up!” 

 

Bella lifted her head up slightly, watching as Dumbledore’s half-giant pet lumbered towards her, waving his umbrella. With a sigh, Bella twisted into an upright position, allowing herself to drift closer to the ground. 

 

“You!” the half-giant’s face burst into a ruddy anger as he brandished his umbrella in her face. “Get off tha’ broom. Yer comin’ with me!” 

 

And so, for the second time in three days, Bella found herself being escorted to the headmistress’s office at wand point. 

 

“Professor, look who I found, sulkin’ ‘round the pitch.” The half giant shoved her forward with one of his massive hands, nearly sending her face first into the desk. “Din’t even try an’ fight. Sure have fallen a lon’ way, ‘aven’t ya, Lestrange?” 

 

Magic crackled at her fingertips at the name. How, how could that bastard follow her thirty years into the future? Would she never be rid of him and his wandering hands and sharp teeth? 

 

“That is quite enough, Hagrid. Miss Black is, for lack of a better explanation, from another time and as such will not be accountable for Mrs. Lestrange’s actions.” 

 

“Actions!” bellowed the half-giant, nearly knocking his umbrella into a delicate looking instrument. “S’at what we’re callin’ it now? Actions?” Hagrid slammed a hand on the desk, causing Bella to flinch back. “Y’know what she’s done and yer not sendin’ her straight to Azkaban.” The half-giant jabbed a thick finger in Bella’s direction. 

 

“Hagrid! Enough!” 

 

“‘Pologies, Professor. Din’t mean to lose my tempe’.” 

 

“I believe Miss Granger is working on the fourth floor corridor, perhaps you should assist her.” 

 

The half-giant had the decency to look ashamed as he bowed his head and mumbled his agreement before ducking out the door. 

 

“Biscuit, Black?” McGonagall thrust a tin under Bella’s nose. 

 

“Pardon?” 

 

“You ran out of breakfast, so you must be hungry.” 

 

“Not particularly.” 

 

“Come, sit, Bellatrix. Let us talk.” 

 

Bella tugged a hand through her curls and pointedly made no move to sit down. “No, no, I’m tired of sitting and talking.” She began to pace the length of the room, nervous energy coursing through her veins. “I know you’re keeping things from me. You won’t let me see my sisters. You won’t let me do anything!” A sharp pain radiated from her side, but she pushed through it. “Tell me, tell me what’s going on. Why the castle is ruined. Why I’m dead. Tell me-” 

 

And then Bella knew only darkness.