One has decided not to be used anymore. The other has no more use. Now, both sides want to catch them. But really, how do you catch two of the best duelists alive? Harry/Bellatrix, Post-seventh...
I Want Out
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Yet. Ever.
A/N: Many thanks to all the work Konrad and LunaMoon224 have put into this. Greatly appreciated, guys. Reviews are welcomed and answered, usually.
Harry grabbed Bellatrix's arm, spinning her in a circle even as he waved his wand with his other hand, tracing a line in the air. "Novacula saeptum," he chanted, giving his wand a twirl at the last syllable. A line of twinkling silver stars appeared in the wake of his wand. An instant later, they took the firmer shape of steel razorblades, spinning in the air. A flick of Harry's wand sent them flying outward, sharp edges glinting.
The three Aurors that had uncloaked themselves dodged out of the way but were still hit by the fast moving blades. Two of them vanished as emergency Portkeys took them away. Additionally, several curses marked the location of another two Aurors, one of which vanished after a brief spurt of blood.
Bellatrix took a second to orient herself after Harry's sudden movement, and then crouched in a dueling stance. Only one Auror was still visible, and Harry was casting rapid curses at him, muttering words she could barely hear. The bright, almost neon-like color of the spells told her they were not regular curses, a fact evidenced a moment later when the Auror was hit by a green beam and turned into a porcupine that squealed and dove in a bush.
She turned from Harry, keeping sight of the area he couldn't see. Both of them turned in sync, wands twitching at every motion. There were more Aurors, and they still hadn't hit the leader. Bellatrix used the brief respite to cast a few passive spells on her and the ground around her. /Enimvero pedes, /she thought, moving her wand in a wide arc.
The ground there gave an almost invisible shimmer, and she smiled internally at the accuracy of the anti-tripping spell. The rocky ground was not one made for fast movement, but most wizard duelists relied on moving fast to escape spells. She took a few steps, both her and Harry careful not to let themselves uncovered, and cast the spell again.
Suddenly, there was a barked order and seven Aurors became visible. A few of them had minor wounds, and all of them were looking mad. "Harry James Potter and Bellatrix Black, you are hereby under arrest. Surrender your wands and you will be escorted to the Ministry of Magic," the leader of the Aurors said; Bellatrix frowned at the odd undertone in his voice. She had heard such a voice before...
"On what ground am I being arrested?" Harry called calmly, eying the Aurors that were positioning themselves in a circle around him and Bellatrix.
The Auror responded immediately, and Bellatrix suddenly knew where she had heard a voice like that before. "You are charged with complicity to escaping convict. Additionally, there are two charges of resisting arrest, a charge of destroying public property, and one charge of illegal possession of Ministry property."
Bellatrix gave Harry a small nudge. "He's under a control spell," she hissed, keeping her eyes on the Aurors in front of her. He didn't give any sign of acknowledging it, but confirmed it with his next words.
"Come now, Kingsley. You know very well that those accusations are made up by the idiots who put you under a control spell," Harry said calmly. Before the Auror had a chance to reply, Harry's wand snapped towards him. "Revoca Mensa Dominium," he called; the pale blue light hit the Auror full on in the chest. Kingsley was blown back a few yards, landing heavily. A moment later, he was taken away by his emergency Portkey.
The moment he was gone, the other Aurors began casting spells in earnest. Harry dropped to the ground, and was followed an instant later by Bellatrix. From his prone position, he aimed his wand at one Auror. /"Letipho convocare!" /he yelled. A dark shape burst out of his wand and attached itself to the Auror's face.
As the rest of the Aurors watched in stunned disbelief as their comrade struggled with the mass of the creature, Bellatrix shot to her feet. /"Envici inimicus," /she called, giving a slight growl in satisfaction at seeing the Auror slump back, unconscious.
"Patefaciere homo!" an Auror called out forcefully, making a downward slashing motion with his wand. Bellatrix dived out of the way of the yellow wave, grunting as she landed on her shoulder. Shooting to her feet, she quickly shielded herself against his next spell, cursing out loud as other Aurors joined his fellow. Harry was a few yards away, furiously trading curses with a pair of Aurors; one of them had cuts on his face, but seemed fine enough. Between shields and curses, she managed to maneuver so she was again next to Harry.
"Obscurare!" Harry called, twirling his wand in a spiral. A thick cloud of dark smoke went off from his wand, heading for the pair of Aurors, surrounding them completely. "Stupefy! Incarcerous! Envici Inimicus! Incarcerous! Naturalis Inligo! //Transformo Aricus!" he called in quick succession, aiming his hexes towards the patch of dark smoke.
"Acclaro!" one of the two other Aurors called, and the dark cloud smoke cleared, revealing a thoroughly bound porcupine and an Auror that had a yellow shield up, but looked about to faint. He cast a last curse and vanished.
"Concussum!" Bellatrix cast, knocking the feet out from under the Auror who had been battering on her shield. She immediately dived to the ground, thus escaping a light blue hex the other had sent her way.
"Patefaciere homo!" the prone Auror chanted. Bellatrix moved her body in a desperate attempt to get her neck out of the way of the spell, but hissed in pain as it hit her shoulder and dug a deep gash. She cursed and raised her wand, knowing that she wouldn't be fast enough to stop the other curse the Aurors was preparing to cast.
"Adfligo!" Harry yelled suddenly, sending the thick orange beam at a stocky Auror who deflected it back, losing his shield to do so. "Vivus Reducio!" Harry cast once the shield was gone. The blue medical spell hit the Auror, sending him into a coma. Bellatrix's hand dropped to the ground in exhaustion. Absently and lightheaded from the blood loss, she listened to the battle.
"Sectumsempra!" the single remaining Auror called. Harry jumped out of the way, but his arm was touched by the spell, and started to bleed freely from multiple cuts. Gritting his teeth, he shielded against the Auror's next spell, sending back a Stunner. The Auror easily blocked it and retaliated with a non-verbal spell that Harry dodged.
"Expecto Patronum!" Harry called, sending the large silvery stag towards the Head Auror. Taken by surprise by the large apparition, the man didn't have time to dodge Harry's second spell, which knocked him out cold.
Once the Auror vanished, Harry rushed to Bellatrix side. He quickly assessed her injuries and did the basest of healing spells on her shoulder, stopping the flow of blood and numbing most of the pain.
He tried to heal his bleeding arm, but the cuts refused to close, although the blood stopped from flowing. He placed both their wands in his pocket and helped Bellatrix stand. She was almost incoherent from the blood loss, and leaned heavily on him. With a frown, he Apparated both of them halfway back to distance to the train station.
He stumbled off the railroad and made his way to a larger street, waving at the first car he saw. The first two cars didn't stop, and the third just accelerated at the sight of their bloody bodies. The fourth stopped and a pale woman climbed out of the car.
"Hospital, please," Harry gasped. Bellatrix was unconscious and he was too tired to be able to support her full weight for any length of time.
"Sure, lad," the lady said, helping him place Bellatrix on the backseat of the car. He got in next to her, keeping her upright in the seat.
"The name's Linda McDougall," the lady sad once they were driving. She was pale, but her voice was determined and her hands weren't shaking.
"James Evans," Harry mumbled through his pain. "Can you go faster?"
"We're nearly there, lad," she replied. "I'll have yeh and yer lady friend to the hospital in a mo'."
Harry nodded absently. The numbing charms were wearing off his arm and the pain was affecting his judgment. /I can't afford to be unconscious! /he thought, worried. But he didn't have much choice when the car suddenly stopped, sending him headfirst into the seat in front of him.
Bellatrix groaned slightly and opened her eyes, quickly closing them at the bright light shining in the room. She turned her head away from the glare and slowly eased her eyes to open, blinking a few times to let her eyes adjust. Once she could see properly, she examined her surroundings.
She was in a hospital bed with sheets slightly yellowed from age and prolonged use. There was a small nightstand next to the bed, and she was glad to see her wand on it, as well as her pouch of Galleons. Satisfied with her closest surroundings, she looked at the rest of the room. The room itself was elongated, with her bed in one end. The other side of the room was a mirror of hers. A door was set in the wall to her left side, approximately in the middle of the room.
The floor was polished wood, and made uneven by age and countless people standing or walking on it. It was a dark brown in color, fitting the walls, which were a pale brown, plain with the exception of a Muggle light bulb in the middle of the ceiling and a window in the other side of the room. The sun was currently shining through that window, making it hard for her to see the occupant of the other bed, although she was certain it was Harry.
She dimly remembered the battle with the Aurors, being taken out by a hex, and Harry helping her walk, a Muggle vehicle, and a jolt that had made her gasp in pain, a kind face, and gentle hands helping her in the bed.
She tried sitting up, but pain shot through her body and she dropped back on the bed with a pained "oomph." The memory of the curse came to her, bringing along a pounding headache, and she swore loudly. /Patefaciere homo, /or the 'Autopsy Curse,' as it was called in some books, had a few devastating side-effects when used on living creatures.
Essentially a medical spell, it had been developed by healers to easily open corpses for autopsies when the magical diagnosis was lacking. In the rare case where transplants were needed, a variation was used to cleanly remove an organ from the body of the donor.
It was that that complicated matter when the curses hit a living human. It didn't only cut; it also sealed the cut halves, making reattaching limbs and organs a very difficult and delicate procedure. Fortunately for her, she had been hit with the base version of the curse, and that meant that with proper care her shoulder would be nearly as good as new.
She wriggled and twisted, gritting her teeth against the pain, and managed to prop herself against the wall. Once there she closed her eyes, forcing back the pain. She reached over with her uninjured hand and grabbed her wand. She didn't know where she was, and had no intention of remaining unarmed.
After almost an hour in which she exercised her silent spell casting, the occupant of the other bed stirred and a hiss of pain marked his instinctual grab for his eyeglasses. She kept her wand trained on him as he sat up easier than she had done, although he seemed to be in a lot of pain as well.
"Where are we, Potter?" she asked, her wand pointed at him.
He shrugged and examined his surroundings. "No idea. Must be a Muggle place, though," he answered, slowly inching his hand towards his wand on the nightstand. When Bellatrix didn't react in any way, he grabbed hold of it and looked considerably less tense. He pointed it at himself, letting loose colorful expletive at the results of the spell.
"How did we get here?" Bellatrix asked after a few minutes of silence.
Harry frowned, and half-closed his eyes as he recalled the events that had led to him being bedridden. "That Auror hit you with that hex - I thought they weren't allowed to use it on humans - and you blacked out. I took out the remaining Aurors and Apparated us in the city. This lady stopped and I asked her to take us to the hospital. I passed out before I saw where we arrived," he recounted in a dry tone.
Bellatrix mulled over the information in silence for a few moments. Why had he helped her? He could have left her to die there, and escape on his own. He was definitely not as injured as she was, if he had managed to Apparate them both and then talk with a Muggle. /If she was a Muggle at all/. The fact that their money and wands were still in their possession could mean that the woman knew about the wizarding world, or was a witch herself.
"What if she betrays us?" she asked suddenly.
Harry looked taken aback for a moment before he shrugged. "We fight. We still have our wands, after all." And if they get me, I'm taking down as many as I can.
"Fight, eh?" Bellatrix echoed. "I'm not going to be captured alive, Potter. Not if I can help it. Death is easier than anything that awaits me, no matter who catches me."
He nodded with a grim smile. They lapsed in silence once again, although Bellatrix opened her mouth to speak a few times, only to stop as the emerald eyes of her former enemy glanced at her.
"Potter, why did you save my life?" she asked after several such attempts.
He looked surprised for a second, before leaning forward and acquiring a thoughtful expression. "You saved my life as well," he pointed out. "Besides, I can kill in cold blood, but leaving somebody to bleed to death is not something I want to live with," he explained, his voice dropping to a whisper at the last words.
She nodded, feeling the respect she held for Potter go up a notch. "I-" she started, prepared to mock him out of habit, only to shut her mouth before she could say anything. After a few seconds, she sighed. "Thank you," she said in a soft tone of voice that barely carried across the room to him. He nodded mutely.
The two of them spent a few minutes lost in thought before noises could be heard outside the door, and it swung open to admit the woman that had taken them in her car. She was wearing a white robe that had seen better days, and carried two trays heaped with food.
"Well, I see yer finally awake," she said, setting a tray on each of their beds. "Took a righ' good beatin', the both 'f ye," she continued.
Bellatrix eyed the cheerful woman with distrust, keeping her wand pointed towards her. For her part, the woman seemed content to stand in the center of the room, ready for whatever their reaction would be.
"Who are you?" Bellatrix asked. "Why are we here? Where are we?" she continued.
The woman glanced at Harry, who had his wand trained on her as well. She gave a small shrug and walked to lean against the wall opposite the now closed door. "My name is Linda McDougall. I was going home two days ago, when he stopped me, asking for a hospital," she said, motioning to Harry. "James," she went on, missing the look Bellatrix threw Harry, "passed out when I got to the hospital, and when I turned to help 'im, I saw 'is wand. I knew then that the Muggle hospital wouldn't help yeh properly, and took yeh here."
"Where exactly is 'here'?" Harry asked. Waving his wand over his food and the picking up the glass of milk and taking a large gulp. While Linda spoke, he began munching on the slightly burnt toast.
"My home," Linda said slowly, eying the wand in Bellatrix hand with trepidation. "I'm a Squib," she said quickly, pushing away from the wall and pacing in the small space between the two beds.
Harry raised an eyebrow but did not comment, preferring to chew. Bellatrix had no such reservations. Swallowing hastily, she addressed the woman. "How come you have this room in your home, Mrs. McDougall?" she asked, making an effort to keep her tone light and not simply curse the answers out of the woman. It came surprisingly easy, and she made a mental note to talk to Harry about what exactly he had done to her.
Linda squirmed under their gazes. "I am good with potions, and I brew some, and sometimes somebody needs ta spend the nigh'," she explained, wringing her hands.
Harry smiled and nodded. "Thank you for your hospitality, Mrs. McDougall," he said, sending a warning glance to Bellatrix. The woman visibly relaxed when Bellatrix gave a strained smile.
The two of them spent a few hours asking their hot questions, eventually resolving that she had no idea who they were. She harvested all her ingredients herself, and didn't keep up with the wizarding news. The two fugitives shared a glance at that.
"Mrs. McDougall-" Bellatrix began hesitantly.
"Yes, Ms. White?" she replied cheerfully.
"If we paid you for your effort, would we be able to take lodging in this room while we recover?" Harry asked, having guessed Bellatrix's intentions. With no contact with the other wizards, the lady would help them and gain money. Everybody won, in Harry's opinion.
Linda wrung her hands before she hesitantly nodded. Harry grinned at her, and they quickly set to talking about their treatment and schedule.