The atmosphere was tense, and it wasn’t helped by the flames dancing in the fireplace, illuminating the library in the myriad colors of the fire. Although it did warm up the place, it had little effect on the two sheeting figures. One of them sat with crossed legs in the end of a love-seat, a deep red glass of something swirling in her right hand. The light shone on her black curls, making them look like they were woven with gold.
But even the proximity of the fire failed to reach her eyes. Those were cold and black, looking like onyx.
As for the other one, she leaned against a bookcase with one shoulder, arms crossed and being extremely busy with scowling.
“Don’t start with any patronizing speech.” Hermione broke the silence eventually.
“I wasn’t saying anything” Bellatrix answered, sipping from her cup.
“I can still feel it” she shot back.
“Good.” the vampire’s voice was so icy, that reminded herself of Narcissa. She mentally pat herself on the back for successfully mimicking her sister, but quickly dismissed her congratulation when she saw the girl’s lips tremble for a split second.
“You were supposed to be on my side” she murmured, and the woman could hear the uncertainty coming from her. Looks like her battle spirit finally evaporated.
“Hermione, I’m always on your side, you know that. And I always will be. But this? This is ridiculous and you know that. There are no sides.”
The Gryffindor pushed herself from the shelf and settled down next to the witch, gazing into the fire. She still narrowed her eyes, but finally, Bella saw the cracks in her rebellious persona. It was nothing more than a foolish outburst of a teenager, the vampire knew it.
“They treat me like a child.” Hermione muttered.
“Because they are your parents. You will always be a child to them. Mines still kept asking me whether I decomposed the bodies after feeding. Even when I turned a hundred years old.” she joked.
“I just- Why do they always have the last word?!” she burst out. “They keep deciding and arranging everything for me, like I’m incapable to do so!”
Bellatrix wetted her lips; they got dangerously close to the arrangement between her and the Grangers. She would never admit it to Hermione, but she was quite... sensitive about the topic. It hadn’t happened before, (except that one time when Hermione was younger and understood less of the Wizarding World) but it was always one of Bella’s fears that the Gryffindor would be negative towards their betrothal .
“What were you arguing about?” she asked instead.
“The subjects I would take the next year.”
“Oh, what are those?” The witch tried to ease the girl’s frustration.
“All of them, obviously” Hemione glanced in confusion at Bellatrix, who had to choke down a laugh that would absolutely send the teenager into fury. “They say it would be too exhausting and stressing for me.”
“And how would you even attend to all of it?”
“With a Time-Turner" Hermione proudly announced it. “McGonagall said that the Ministry would give me one. When I’m done with one class, I travel back one hour and attend another one in the same time.”
“I see” Bella nodded. “And you’re certain that you won’t be overwhelmed or get too stressed with this many classes.”
“I am certain.” she narrowed her eyes and pouted, hearing the sarcasm and the challenge hidden in the woman’s words.
But the Gryffindor’s smug face quickly morphed into sadness. She raised her knees to her chin and hugged herself.
“I shouldn’t have run away.” her lips trembled. “I don’t know why I did it.”
“You’re a teenager. Teenagers do stupid things.” Bella put an arm around Hermione, who inched closer to her. The vampire conjured a blanket, and tucked the Gryffindor up.
“Can I stay?” she whispered.
“Of course.” the woman caressed her arm in an attempt to calm down the witch. “And tomorrow you will apologize to them. Okay?”
“ Mhm .” Hermione hummed in answer. “Thank you.”
Bellatrix stayed like that, until the girl’s eyelids slowly slid close, and subconsciously laid out on the love-seat, her head eventually ended up in the vampire’s lap. Bellatrix’s long fingers affectionately stroked through her curls.
When she was sure that her betrothed was asleep, she lifted Hermione’s head and put a pillow under.
“Polly” she quietly called her house elf, who immediately appeared with a faint pop. “Prepare Hermione’s room for the night, and then apparate her there.”
“Yes, Mistress” Polly bowed, and disappeared in the next second.
Being careful to not to cause any noise with her heeled boots, she left the library and headed to her study room. Part of her wanted to return to Hermione’s side, being there and guard her while she slept. But on the other hand, mentally she was already wording her letter to the Grangers, reassuring them that their child was with her and will return tomorrow.