Chapter 7

Ginny was desperately curious and demanded to be told what was happening, but the trio left her to look after Teddy and shut themselves in Ron’s room after Hermione had magically repaired the damage in the hall and the doors.

From Ron’s high window the B could clearly be seen on the grass. Hermione leant on Ron’s murky empty frog tank as she stared down at it.

“I suppose that if Bellatrix is alive then she has been hiding out somewhere. No doubt with the Malfoys.”

“They can’t be there,” Ron said. “Don’t you remember, their house was sold in January and someone else lives there now.”

Hermione bit her lip, frustrated. “There’s two problems to start off with. We don’t know where she’s staying, and we don’t know how many Horcruxes she’s made.”

“Well, one part of her soul has already been destroyed, so if she made just one then all we have to do is kill her,” Harry stated. He almost smiled at how easy he made it sound.

“But how many people has she killed? She could have made loads for all we know,” Ron argued.

“No, she wouldn’t have made many, Ron. Voldemort made seven and look what happened to him. He was barely human after ripping his soul in seven. Bellatrix, as far as we know, is still human and so isn’t that far gone yet.”

“She’s insane,” Ron put in. “Who knows how far she’s gone.”

“Well, she’s only made a Horcrux recently, I would say,” Hermione ignored his comment. “In the past year and half at the most.”

There was a sudden crash and a scream from downstairs. The three looked at each other, holding each other’s terror-stricken gaze before diving for the stairs and thundering down into the kitchen.

Mrs Weasley had collapsed onto the floor - bedraggled and covered in dust and dirt, blood streaming from the arm of her singed robes as she lay suddenly still.

It was Ginny who had screamed; she was kneeling by her mother’s side and crying in shock as she checked her injuries. She looked up wildly at them - Ron and Hermione both fell to their knees by Mrs Weasley’s side. Harry looked around for any sign that she had been followed. Teddy watched him, wide-eyed.

“Oh my God, Mum, Hermione, what’s wrong, is she OK?” Ginny babbled, holding Mrs Weasley’s fingers which were dripping blood that had trickled down her arm.

Ron tried to shake her by the shoulders, yelling, “Mum! Mum!”

“Get off her Ron, you’re not helping!” Hermione shrieked, brandishing her wand.

She pulled back the slashed robes and saw a deep, wide gash up Mrs Weasley’s arm. Ginny gave a scream of horror muffled by her hands clasped over her mouth, tears and mucus dribbling unattractively down her face. Ron sat, pale and shocked and disbelieving as he stared at his unmoving mother. Harry stood sentinel, watching for any appearance of a pursuer, particularly Bellatrix Lestrange.

“Jesus, Hermione, how did that happen?” Ron cried, looking repulsed by the treacle-thick blood oozing from the gaping wound and pooling around them on the kitchen floor.

“I don’t know, Ron,” cried Hermione, almost hysterical with panic. “It looks like a curse wound.”

“A what?” said Ron. His face was as ashen as Mrs Weasley’s as though he had lost as much blood.

“A curse wound - when a dangerous curse doesn’t hit its target properly, it’s just shot or scraped past her arm or something, and it leaves a wound like a cut or -”

“Hermione, that’s not a cut,” said Ron grimly. “Can’t you do something?”

“I’m trying!” she screamed at him, clenching her fists. “Will you all just please get out of the way!”

Reluctantly they backed off, Ginny dropping her mother’s hand. Hermione bent over Mrs Weasley, murmuring spells and charms so quietly they could barely hear. Past Hermione they could just see the wound slowly knitting itself together. The gash was so wide it barely closed together as Hermione guided with her wand.

“It’s been caused by Dark magic, so it might not heal…” she mumbled. The wound was seeming to fight back, unravelling and pulling apart as quickly as Hermione tried to knit it together. She managed to just close it, as though it had been stitched together. There was an ugly deep line that would become a scar.

Ginny grabbed a damp cloth and sponged at the wound, while Ron started to mop up the blood. Hermione sat back against the wall, the energy the spell had required had left her exhausted.

Harry helped Ginny to lift Mrs Weasley into a chair. Ginny uttered the spell that awoke someone who had been Stunned, but she didn’t stir.

“She’s probably unconscious,” Hermione observed, “she’s lost a lot of blood.”

Ginny nodded and combed her mother’s straggled hair back with her fingers, sponging her forehead with cold water. Ron had cleaned up the floor and washed his stained hands.

They stood around for a while, not speaking or moving. Eventually Hermione stood up and said, “What are we going to do now?”

Ron looked at her as though she was stupid. “We’re going to get that &@$%£.”

The End

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