Chapter XII: "Late"

Chapter XII: "Late"

A Chapter by Ashleigh

Tonks discovers Harry and Bellatrix's relationship and Bellatrix reveals some life-changing news to Harry.


                The next morning, Harry was awakened by some unpleasant sounds coming from the bathroom attached to his and Bella's bedroom. He looked at his watch, which showed that it was almost 7:00am. He then glanced beside him to find that Bella was not beside him. Getting out of bed to investigate, he tapped softly on the bathroom door.

                "Bella?" he asked. "Are you alright?" More retching could be heard from inside the bathroom. Alarmed, Harry opened the door to see her bent over the toilet clutching her stomach. She had obviously been throwing up. Harry immediately rushed to her side to hold back her hair and gently rub her back until she was finished.

                "Thanks," she said weakly after it seemed the last wave of nausea had subsided.

                "Do you know what's wrong?" Harry asked her with concern. She shook her head and sighed.

                "Not for sure. I think it may just be a stomach bug that's all," she managed a smile. "It's been happening these last few days." Harry was shocked.

                "What? Why haven't I noticed it, then?" he asked.

                "You normally sleep through it," Bella replied, shrugging. "Anyway, I feel fine now. Don't worry about me," she added at Harry's concerned face. Harry was about to protest, but she really did look okay now and thought it would be better not to push it. He nodded and kissed her forehead before following her downstairs.

                "Is Ms. Black feeling well?" Dobby asked when both she and Harry entered the kitchen. Kreacher was there and scowled.

                "Sharing a bed with the nasty little bloodtraitor has made my mistress ill, yes," Kreacher muttered. Dobby made a move to attack Kreacher, but Bella backhanded the house-elf first, sending him into the pantry.

                "Don't you ever talk about him like that! That is an order!" she warned. Kreacher picked himself up and bowed graciously. It was obvious he had more respect for Bella than Harry.

                "Yes, mistress. Kreacher apologizes," he said, still muttering under his breath about bloodtraitors and mudbloods. Bella sighed.

                "Just go away, Kreacher," she snapped. Kreacher obeyed, leaving Harry, Bella and Dobby scowling after him. After he was out of the room, Bella shook her head. "Why do you keep him, Harry?" she asked with a disgusted look.

                "He has nowhere else to go," Harry replied simply. "I have a feeling Tonks wouldn't take him even if I paid her to," he sighed. Bella laughed.

                "I don't blame her. He's a nasty piece of work," she said darkly. Remembering that she still hadn't answered Dobby's question, her face softened and she turned to the other house elf. "Yes, Dobby. I'm fine. Thank you for your concern," she said kindly. Dobby bowed and smiled.

                "It is an honour to serve someone who cares about Dobby's friend so deeply," he answered. Both Bella and Harry shook their heads in amusement.

                "Dobby, why don't you take the day off? You've been doing such a good job with the mansion, take a break," Harry advised. The house elf jumped up and down in gratitude and beamed. He had been working very hard, trying to make up for Kreacher's lack of helpfulness. Harry knew the house-elf would be looking forward to spending the day knitting socks and hats.

                "Thank you very much, Harry Potter! Harry Potter is very kind to Dobby!" he squeaked, running out of the kitchen happily. Harry looked over to Bella, who was staring absently out the window. He put a hand on her shoulder, and she was snapped out of her trance.

                "You sure you're okay?" Harry asked her. Bella just smiled and squeezed his hand before walking out of the kitchen. He frowned and called Dobby back into the room.

                "Yes, Harry Potter?" he asked. Harry bent down and whispered so Bella wouldn't hear.

                "Dobby, can you keep an eye on Bella for me? I'm worried about her," he confessed to the house elf. "You don't have to follow her around or anything, just let me know if you notice anything unusual about her. I have a feeling there's something important that she isn't telling me," Harry told Dobby.

                "Of course, Harry Potter. Dobby will tell Harry Potter if there is something wrong with Ms. Black," Dobby replied. Harry nodded.

                "Thanks Dobby," Harry sighed, watching the house elf leave the kitchen to knit some socks.

                Harry spent the next couple of days watching Bella closely. She kept insisting she was healthy, but she kept getting sick in the mornings and whenever Harry pushed the issue with her, she would get defensive and walk away. It left Harry feeling very frustrated. Couldn't she see that he was worried about her? If there really was something wrong with her, he wouldn't be able to take her to St. Mungo's, because she was still wanted by the Ministry. Harry's unease began to grow.

                "Harry, if you ask me one more time if I'm okay, I'm going to scream!" Bella snapped at him on one such night. Harry sighed with frustration. They had been arguing about this for the last twenty minutes and both of them were starting to lose their patience with the other.

                "You do realize that I won't shut up because I love you, right?" he snapped back. Bella's shoulders slumped.

                "Yes," she muttered reluctantly. "Sorry..." she muttered even more reluctantly. Harry smirked in amusement and took her into his arms without saying a word.

                "What the hell did I just walk into here?" a voice came from the sitting room doorway. Harry and Bella immediately broke apart and gave Tonks a frightened look. Tonks looked stunned. Apparently, she was too flabbergasted to be angry.

                "Tonks... er, I didn't hear you come in," Harry replied lamely. He was actually frightened of her reaction, and made a point to stay out of her strangling reach.

                "Dobby let me in," she replied curtly. "Please tell me that you were acting out a play or something," Tonks said, desperately wanting to believe ANYTHING than what she thought was going on. Bella was the brave one and spoke first.

                "Tonks, there's something we haven't told you," she said hesitantly. "Why don't you sit down?" Tonks glared murderously at her aunt, but reluctantly did as she was told. Harry took a step toward her and cleared his throat.

                "Bella and I have been... together... for about six months now. Before you explode, you have to understand that neither of us expected this to happen, but..." Harry explained before Bella interjected.

                "We fell in love. You can't fight love, Tonks," she whispered while Harry nodded in agreement. Tonks' face was very pale and she remained silent for a good solid minute. Harry was finding it difficult to breathe. He was sure she was going to flip out, but instead, Tonks did the last thing anyone would have expected her to do. She laughed! It started out as a very faint giggle, but it slowly increased until she was bending over in hysterics, clutching her side. Harry tentatively touched her shoulder.

                "Um, Tonks? Are you okay?" he asked. Great, Harry! Look what you did! You made her snap, his mind told him. Bella crossed her arms and looked at her niece incredulously.

                "Why on earth are you laughing about this?" she asked in exasperation before throwing her hands up in the air. Tonks finally contained herself enough to give her an answer.

                "Because I really don't know what else to do," she replied, taking a deep breath before shakily standing up. "Don't get me wrong. I still hate you, and I hate this!" she spat, motioning between Harry and Bella to get her point across. Bella's face fell.

                "I'm sorry you feel that way. I've changed. I hope you see that someday," she said quietly.

                "Oh please! Don't give me that crap about being a good person! The brand on your arm makes you a Death Eater, no matter how much you try to deny it!" Tonks laughed derisively.

                "That brand means nothing to me! All it's given me is years of heartache and pain! I thank God every day that Sirius broke my marriage contract! If he hadn't, I'd still be Rudolphus' slave and I would never have known what love is supposed to be!" Bella retorted in desperation.

                "YOU'RE A W***E!" Tonks bellowed. "You're sleeping with a sixteen year old kid! That's not love!" she yelled. Harry immediately whipped out his wand and pointed it at Tonks.

                "You call her that again and I'll obliterate you!" he threatened. "Who the hell are you to tell us what love is? Last I heard you were still single!" he said hurtfully.

                "Harry... don't! I can't stand here and watch you hurt my niece like that," Bella cried tearfully before exiting the room. Harry made a move to stop her from leaving, but the look on Tonks' face made him stay where he was. Tonks looked like she couldn't decide whether she wanted to yell or cry, so she settled for covering her face with her hands and shaking her head.

                "I can't believe this," she muttered. "What the hell would possess you to do something like this?" she asked. Her hands were now shaking with suppressed anger, but at least she didn't attack Harry. Harry took that as a good sign, however dim it may be.

                "Nothing possessed me," Harry replied. "I fell in love with her. Is that so hard to believe?"

                "YES!" she finally exploded. "MY GOD! THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE! SHE'S OLD ENOUGH TO BE YOUR MOTHER! SHE KILLED YOUR GODFATHER!" she screamed, apparently no longer able to contain herself. Harry knew he wouldn't be able to say anything to calm her down, so he stayed silent and waited. Tonks looked as if she were about to hit him, but then collapsed into the nearest seat and gulped down a couple of deep breaths. It looked like it was taking all of her resolve not to kill someone. "I can't even talk about this anymore or I'm going to throw up," she finally said. Indeed, she did look very ill and Harry nodded. Anything to keep her calm right now was worth it, he decided.

                "What did you come to see me for?" Harry asked. "Did something new come up in the Order?"

                "Wha- oh... right," Tonks said. She was still feeling rather dazed from having to take in so much in such a short period of time. "Just more pointless arguments; more of Dumbledore refusing to listen to reason; more stress..." she sighed unhappily. She explained the exact details about the meeting. How she and Molly had disagreed about Harry as usual, and how Shacklebolt had stood up for her, but of course Dumbledore wouldn't listen to a word and continued to do things his way. When she finished, she looked even more downtrodden than when she had arrived.

                "You know, have you taken a day off lately? You look like you need it," Harry commented. Tonks glared at him.

                "Take a day off? Are you kidding? In case you haven't noticed being holed up all nice and cozy here with Bellatrix, You-Know-Who is gaining more power every day! Every day, there's another murder to investigate, another body to find. Yesterday, I had to remove the body of a little girl from her bedroom while having to pry her screaming mother off of her! She was killed by a Death Eater for being a squib! A LITTLE GIRL! Think about that for a second," she said bitterly.

                Harry did think about it. It made him nauseous so he stopped. He had forgotten that Tonks saw this kind of horror every day. Clearing his throat, he decided a change of subject was in order. "You never told me what you did for New Year's," he said. Tonks seemed to appreciate the change of subject and sighed with relief.

                "Oh, I just stayed with my parents for the night," she replied. "Nothing too extravagant, really. What did you do?" she asked. Harry remembered very vividly how he had spent his New Year's and his face went red. Tonks scowled. "Uggh... gross! Forget I asked. I don't want to know the details," she sighed, leaning back in her seat, shaking her head.

                Harry and Tonks stayed in the sitting room, talking about mundane things. It seemed to be a relief to Tonks. Harry wasn't surprised. She had probably been involved in nothing but serious Auror matters for these past few months. She hadn't been lying when she told Harry that Voldemort was gaining power. Both he and Bella had been reading The Daily Prophet and every article was about another death or disappearance, another attack on muggle-borns from the Death Eaters. Bella had even complained that her brand was burning a few times to Harry that week. They both knew the wizarding world was in peril. Harry was suddenly reminded of his strongest weapon against Voldemort and decided to tell Tonks. He explained to her everything from the letter he received to meeting with Crawbeck. Tonks' mouth was hanging open stupidly by the time he was finished.

                "Geez, Harry. Things never get dull with you around, do they?" she said in disbelief. Harry sighed and nodded.

                "No, but I wish they would sometimes," he replied.

                "Should I tell the Order about this?" she asked. Harry understood her confusion. This could be a very important piece of information to them that could aid in destroying Voldemort for good. On the other hand, if Dumbledore got wind of this, there was no telling what he would do.

                "I think you should tell Shacklebolt, Moody and Lupin. They won't leak anything to Dumbledore. Everyone else needs to be kept in the dark about this," Harry advised. Tonks looked thoughtful for a moment, then nodded.

                "You're right. Dumbledore can't know. He's losing more and more of his sanity every day trying to control you. We can't be sure he'd do the right thing with this information," she agreed. Harry saw Dobby come into the room, wringing his hands nervously.

                "What is it, Dobby?" Harry asked in concern. Dobby looked from Tonks to Harry, unsure if he should tell him with her in the room. "It's okay Dobby. You can say whatever it is in front of Tonks," Harry reassured him. The house-elf nodded.

                "Harry Potter asked Dobby to watch Ms. Black for him and Dobby has just seen Ms. Black crying in the sleeping quarters. Dobby asked Ms. Black what was wrong, but she told Dobby to fetch Harry Potter. Ms. Black says she must speak with Harry Potter first before she tells Dobby," he said quickly. Harry's brow furrowed in worry. What on earth could be that important right now? He turned to Tonks, who shook her head.

                "I'm not leaving until I know why you set your house-elf up to spy on your so-called girlfriend!" she said firmly. Harry debated the prospects in his head, and reluctantly sat down.

                "I've been worried about her," Harry explained. "She's seemed sick these past few weeks." Tonks raised her eyebrows.

                "Go on. What makes you think there's something wrong with her?" she asked, obviously interested. Harry explained all of her symptoms to Tonks, including the mood swings and vomiting. As he finished, Tonks looked down, thinking hard about what could be wrong with her, then her eyes widened and she clapped a hand to her mouth.

                "What is it? You know what's wrong with her, don't you?" Harry exclaimed, sick with worry. If Tonks knew, her reaction wasn't the one he had wanted at all.

                "God, Harry! You're such an idiot!" Tonks snapped. She then looked up at the ceiling, defeated. "That's it. I'm done. Strike me down right now, God. I can't deal with this anymore," she muttered helplessly, looking almost close to tears.

                "But-" Harry began. Tonks stood up, grabbed her purse and cloak before he could say more and headed into the foyer.

                "I have to go, Harry. Go talk to her yourself," she said angrily before stalking out of the mansion. Harry stared after her for a few moments before he rushed upstairs to Bella. She was sitting on their bed, shaking from head to foot and crying. She gave Harry a frightened look when he walked into the room.

                "Bella? What's wrong?" Harry asked, a pit of worry forming in his stomach. He put his arms around her and drew her close to him. Bella seemed unable to speak for a few moments, and took a shuddering breath.

                "I'm late..." she whispered. Harry raised his eyebrows at her, and began to laugh.

                "Late? Late for what?" he chuckled. "It's not like you can leave the mansion or anything." Bella shook her head, and tentatively stood up.

                "No... Harry..." she faltered. When Harry continued to give her a blank stare, she began to cry again and gently placed a hand on her belly. "I'm late," she repeated, rubbing her belly.

                "Wha- Oh..." Harry finally understood and his eyes widened in shock. Y- You're... you know..." he stammered. He could not say it out loud. It was too much of a frightening prospect to think about. Bella nodded and collapsed into Harry's arms in a fresh wave of tears. He held her close to him and placed his hand on her belly, unable to really take it all in.

                "Shhh... it'll be okay," Harry whispered to her. He only said this to reassure her, for Harry was not sure at all whether this would turn out okay.

                Once again, Harry's life was turned upside-down. This is scarier than anything I've ever dealt with before... he thought desperately.

© 2008 Ashleigh

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Added on December 16, 2008



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