Bella is tended to; Harry gets to open his present early
Marietta's light brown hair framed her concerned face.
"Oh thank the Goddess, Harry, I didn't know what to do, I didn't know what was happening. Harry, oh Harry." She was kneeling on the bed holding his head to her breast.
"Oh this is nice," he murmured.
"Now I know you're feeling better" she sighed. She sat back on her heels and Harry leaned back on his elbows. "Can you tell me what happened?"
"Well, I think I was dreaming about walking in the dark, not dark like the night but dark like a tunnel or a cave, then I was startled by two red eyes. His eyes, y'know?" She shook her head.
"Voldemort's eyes are red, and the pupils are slits, like cat's eyes or a snake's eyes."
Marietta shuddered at the thought, but encouraged Harry to "go on."
Then I was on a table or a frame, I could see my hands and arms stretched up and away from me but they were a woman's hands, y'know, delicate with long bright red fingernails. My back felt cool like maybe I was naked and then there was burning, tearing pain on my back, like the skin was being ripped off and then I saw Dawn. . ."
"You saw the sun come up?"
"No Dawn, youngish girl, sad eyes."
"Should I be jealous?"
"She's a spirit, less than a ghost."
"It's very confusing; Healer Dumphries said I have a 'link' to Bellatrix, because of the baby."
"I heard that part, yes."
"Dawn said we're linked because of the baby too, she said Bellatrix was being tortured, she used the word tormented. . ."
He thought for a moment, rolled his shoulders and stretched his back as if testing it and said, "Beaten or whipped."
"She was being whipped, flogged actually."
"And you felt it too?"
"Oh yeah, but then I saw Dawn and the pain went away."
"What did she say?"
"She said Bellatrix was her angel, that she saved her baby and, uh, released her."
"Angel of death maybe, everyone knows she's a murdering lunatic."
"Remember my fifth year, oh of course you do, well everyone 'knew' I was off my nut for most of that year"
Marietta nodded her understanding.
Harry continued. "What I'm getting through the link doesn't feel like a murdering lunatic. While she was being, y'know, flogged she seemed, I don't know how to say it, she seemed at peace, like she was supposed to be there, like it was the right thing t' do."
"Y'mean she enjoys the pain?"
"No, not that, just like she felt she had to submit to it; I think it was maybe a cleansing. I think the word is sacrament. "
Marietta remembered something about 'the scourge of God' and how it was supposed to drive evil out of a truly penitent soul.
Bellatrix rose from her cot and paced her cell, a pit really, an actual stone hole in the ground that had to be accessed by a ladder capped off by grid of cold iron bars. She had a pitcher and basin and flannel for washing up and a chamber pot for her basic needs. A small cot and blanket were her only creature comforts.
The iron grate opened and the ladder was lowered down. Alex Jones gingerly climbed down the narrow steps.
"M'lady, I have more salve for your injuries; may I assist you or would you prefer a woman's touch?"
"Are any of the women volunteering?"
"No, m'lady, but if the Dark Lord insists, one will."
"I am long past modesty Healer Jones."
"I'm sorry m'lady, but I never finished healer school. I'm just 'Jones,' and I'm no healer."
"And I'm no lady, and I would like to think of you as my personal physician if I may."
He held up the stone jar containing the healing salve and asked "with your permission?"
Bellatrix loosened her robe and lay face down on the cot while Jones treated her wounds.
"Magic hands." She sighed as Jones spread the healing ointment.
"It's the salve, m'lady; it will allow most of the wounds to heal."
"As I said m'lady, there will be some scars."
"If only there were salves for the soul, eh healer?"
"How did you come into the service of the Dark Lord, forgive me, but you don't seem the type?"
"Not all of us are here by choice Lady Black; my family is pureblood but destitute. We couldn't afford to complete my schooling and I was looking for a way to earn enough galleons to lift myself and my family out of poverty. I was in Diagon Alley last month with some of my mates, 'purebloods' all and this fellow Avery tosses a bag of galleons into the middle of the table and says 'drinks f' me mates!' Next thing I know I wake up here with a hangover and a contract signed in blood saying I'm bound to the Dark Lord until one of us dies, and since he's immortal. . ." Jones shrugged.
"I was bound to the master by way of my late husband, now it seems I am obligated to serve him as you do."
"Let this soak in for the next half hour or so m'lady, we'll do two more treatments and that should suffice. May I be of further assistance? Do you need anything?"
"Perhaps a brush, Healer Jones, and one of the pillows from my other chambers would help me sleep at night, although night and day are irrelevant down here are they not?"
"As you say, Lady Black; I promise that I will try."
Harry and Marietta spent the day in companionable silence. Each felt the need to be close enough to touch at all times. They sat a bit closer at meal times and read or studied within easy reach of each other.
"We'll be needin' to put on our 'professional' faces tomorrow an' Tuesday and the rest o' the week, Luv, except for Thursday o' course."
"What happens on Thursday?"
She closed her book in mock exasperation, then stalked over to Harry's side of the loveseat.
"That'll be your birthday, darlin,' and you'll be of legal age and I can finally have me wicked way with you!"
"Wait, does that mean what we've already done, several times in fact, has been illegal?"
"Nope, just improper, 'age of consent' is sixteen; age of majority, that is to say legally adult is seventeen."
"Why do I get the feeling you've looked this up?"
Marietta just smiled and pulled Harry into a deep, soulful kiss.
"Seeing as how we're goin' to be busy on Thursday and all, would you like to open your present a bit early?"
"Um, all right."
"Just give me half a tic" she said as she slipped into the loo.
'Half a tic' turned out to be just over five minutes. When she emerged she wore a short night gown made of a deep emerald translucent material that both obscured and enhanced her undeniably feminine and otherwise naked form. She stretched out cat-like on the bed and gave Harry a 'come-hither' look.
"I looked for hours to find one that matches your eyes," her voice dropped a whole octave as she insisted, "now c'mere you, and open your present!"
Harry kicked off his shoes and slid onto the bed facing Marietta; he stroked her cheek then caressed her body through the sheer material.
"I love the feel of this" he said as he cupped her breast, thumbing the erect nipple through the material.
"You're 'feelin'' pretty good to me Luv" she cooed.
Her gown came together in the front and was held closed by an elegant single silken petite bow between her breasts. He leaned into her kissing her completely and pulled the end of the knot to untie it and release 'the girls.'
As Harry was doing this Marietta had freed him from the durance vile of his jeans and was pulling him to her warm, wet center.
"Slowly my love," Harry whispered into her ear, "we have all night."
"I'm too randy to be slow right now, we can be slow later, right now I need this" and she squeezed him for emphasis "I need this where it'll do the most good!"
He didn't even remove his jeans; he just pushed them half way down his thighs and entered her, knowing she was already ready.
"Yessss," she hissed as he slid in for a perfect fit, "welcome home, Mister Potter."