Chapter VII: Impending Insanity

Chapter VII: Impending Insanity

A Chapter by Ashleigh

Harry tries to explain Bellatrix's presence to Ginny, while Dumbledore slowly starts to crack,


              After a few long moments, Ginny plucked up the courage to speak. "Harry... W-why is she here?" she breathed. Harry sighed and motioned for both of them to sit down. They both took a seat in the living area. Once they were all seated, Harry looked at Bellatrix.

               "Do you want to explain?" he asked. Bellatrix took a look at Ginny's frightened face and shook her head.

                "I think it's best if you explain it to her, Harry," she replied softly. He nodded and took a breath, then began into the long speech about how he had gone to Gringotts to satisfy his curiosity about the marriage contract in Sirius' will, how he had found out that Bellatrix was forced into her marriage and made a slave, proving her innocence, how he had called a Black family meeting to set things straight and how he had offered for her to stay with him until her name was cleared. It took quite a long time to tell the entire story, because Ginny kept interrupting to ask questions. Eventually, she understood the whole situation, but was still not quite sure what to make of Bellatrix.

                "How do I know this is true and that Bellatrix really is on our side now?" she asked Harry suspiciously.

                "Because I'm telling you it's true and I've never lied to you before," Harry replied simply. Ginny looked wary for a second or two, then finally sighed and nodded.

                "Alright." She turned to Bellatrix. "I'll trust Harry's judgement for now, but if you prove his judgement false, don't expect another chance from me or anyone else for that matter," she threatened. Bellatrix bowed her head.

                "Thank you. That's all I ask. I'll prove to all of you that Harry has excellent judgement," she winked and smiled at Harry, and once again, his heart leapt in his chest. Again, he shook it off, feeling perturbed. Why did he feel this way? Ginny stood up, still rather pale.

                "I think I'll go home now. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone about Bellatrix... not yet, anyway," she said. Harry shook his head.

                "Don't be thick. It's too far to walk, and you're welcome to stay anyway. I have to check up on Dobby and Kreacher, but I'm sure Bellatrix can show you around until I get back," he replied. Ginny raised her eyebrows, but nodded all the same.

                "I guess I can stay," she said. Harry grinned and went to go find Dobby and Kreacher. It took over an hour to scour the house for them, and finally discovered them. They were dusting cobwebs from the high, cathedral ceiling in Bellatrix's room.

                "There you are. I've been tearing apart the entire house, looking for you," Harry said as he walked into the room. Dobby turned around with a puzzled expression on his face.

                "Why didn't Mr. Harry Potter just call Dobby, sir?" the house elf asked politely. Harry felt extremely stupid for the second time that day.

                "Oh... er, right. I can do that, can't I?" Harry replied sheepishly. Dobby nodded. "Well anyway, I just wanted to ask how the cleaning's going."

                "Oh, very well, Mr. Harry Potter. Kreacher and Dobby have about half the mansion sparkling," he said with a bow. Over by the window, Kreacher started mumbling.

                "Brats, mudbloods, blood traitors, filthy half-breeds..." he spat. Dobby frowned, but chose to ignore him. Harry sat on Bellatrix's bed and chatted with Dobby for the next hour or so. He was really trying to give Ginny and Bellatrix a chance to spend time with each other. Maybe then Ginny wouldn't be so frightened of her.

*   *   *

                Dumbledore paced restlessly in front of his desk while a stormy sky thundered and darkened, threatening to release its fury onto the grounds of Hogwarts. In front of his desk in a poufy armchair sat Minerva McGonagal, looking very concerned.

                "Albus! Just calm down. I've never seen you this agitated before; it worries me." Dumbledore stopped pacing and glared at her.

                "Minerva, I cannot rest until Harry comes to his senses and realizes that I am trying to help him!" he thundered as menacingly as the sky. Minerva stood up and folded her arms with a cross expression on her face.

                "This is absolutely ridiculous! I don't agree with what he's doing, either, but it is still his choice to make." She quavered under the look Dumbledore gave her after those words.

                "He is completely out of control! He doesn't even realize how dangerous his actions are! I cannot let this continue, but thanks to the Ministry and Sirius' blasted will, I have no power over him anymore!" he banged his fist on his desk very hard, making Fawkes' empty cage rattle on its stand. Minerva looked shocked.

                "Albus! You're beginning to sound like a crazy person. You know, it's not just me who's worried about you; Tonks voiced her concerns about your judgement to me as well. Apparently, Mad-Eye and Kingsley agree with her. At first, I just laughed it off without much thought, but now I'm beginning to wonder if she has a point," Minerva cried in frustration. That stopped Dumbledore in his tracks. He turned to her with a frightening fury blazing in his eyes, their normally calm, misty blue colour now a cold grey.

                "What did she say to you?" he demanded.

                "Just that you haven't seemed very stable lately. Anyway, what does it matter to you? If protecting Harry is so important to you, surely you're not worried about what others will say about it?" she replied. Dumbledore leaned heavily on his desk with both hands and hung his head.

                "I think you should leave now, Minerva. I have important matters to attend to," he muttered. Something in his voice made Minerva shudder involuntarily.

                "I'm beginning to lose my faith in you, Albus," she said quietly before stifling a sob and leaving the Headmaster's office with quick footsteps. Once he was sure she was gone, Dumbledore let out a heavy sigh and slumped in his chair. He conjured a glass and a small bottle of wine. As he poured himself a drink, he looked over to the corner of his office where Fawkes' cage was, noticing for the first time that night that it was empty.

                "Stupid bird," he grumbled. "He's never around here anymore."

*   *   *

                Harry was cooking dinner over the old fashioned stove, while Bellatrix sat at the table, staring absent-mindedly out the window. Ginny had left hours ago. He gave her a concerned look. "Are you okay?" he asked. She snapped out of her trance and smiled at him.

"I'm fine. Just thinking about things," she replied. She suddenly sniffed the air. "That smells good. What are you making?" she asked.

                "Just some chicken and vegetables," Harry told her with a face. "I'm not much of a cook, so don't be surprised if it doesn't taste as good as it smells." Bellatrix laughed. That was the first time he had really heard her laugh, apart from small chuckles here and there. Like everything else about her, it made Harry's heart leap out of his chest.

                "I'm sure it will taste alright, Harry. You don't give yourself enough credit," she replied. Harry found himself going very red and quickly turned toward the stove again in an attempt to hide it from Bellatrix. He was now convinced that he had a crush on her, but he knew she wouldn't feel the same way. How could a woman in her mid forties feel anything for a scrawny sixteen year old? There was just too much of an age difference. He sighed as he continued to stir the vegetables. Bellatrix heard him.

                "What's wrong?" she asked, her thickly lashed, dark eyes filled with concern. Harry wanted to tell her, but he wasn't stupid enough to actually say it.

                "Nothing. Just a long day, that's all," he replied. Bellatrix looked at him suspiciously for a moment, then shrugged and continued to stare into space. After dinner (which actually didn't taste as bad as Harry had expected), Bellatrix yawned and stretched slightly.

                "I think I'll head off to bed. See you in the morning," she said.

                "See you," Harry replied. She got up from her chair and headed out of the kitchen to go up the stairs to her room. Harry wasn't tired just yet. He decided to read up on that book Bellatrix had given him. He was supposed to be finished it by now, but he hadn't found the time to read it further lately. He headed up to the study to catch up on the reading Bellatrix had given him. He settled in easily and started. He eventually looked up at the clock, and was startled to see that it was precisely midnight, he had been reading for hours. He stretched and got up, feeling slightly stiff from sitting so long.

                As he walked down the hall to his bedroom, he passed by Bellatrix's sleeping quarters. The door was slightly ajar. Harry knocked softly, but nobody answered. He went to close the heavy door, but as he did so, caught a glimpse of the interior of her room. There was Bellatrix sleeping soundly in her bed, her dark hair spread out over the pillows, her pale face illuminated by the soft moonlight streaming through her window onto her bed. She no longer looked like a convict on the run from the Ministry. She looked like a happy, carefree young girl who had so much opportunity in life. She looked absolutely beautiful. Harry had to resist a strong urge to kiss her. He slowly closed the door, being careful not to wake Bellatrix. He then continued his walk to his own bedroom, a slight smile playing across his lips.

© 2008 Ashleigh

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Added on December 16, 2008



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