The Duality of Darkness

Pairing: Bellatrix Lestrange/Luna Lovegood............Luna Lovegood is a new Trainee Healer on the fourth floor of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. She finds that her mind might also be in need of some healing when she is introduced to one particular long-term patient, Bellatrix Lestrange; who was mistakenly presumed dead at the Battle of Hogwarts, only one year before......................Warnings (current, and in the future): AU, FEMSLASH, background OCs, destructive personalities, self-injury, conspiracy, subject matter on a close-relative's death, neglect, forms of child abuse (although, nothing descriptive, and it is very much in context and relevant), mental disturbances......................I originally posted this story up on FF.net, so, if you're on there, search for me and leave me a nice little message (or some harsh critique) if you like via PM or review! My writer name on there is 'ShelleyRusalki' also.

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4. Of Rags and Silks

 

Miriam Strout seemed pleased as Luna licked her plate clean. The pudding had left a warming feeling in the pit of her tummy, and she felt as though the custard, which had thickly lined her stomach, was now spreading through her arteries. She looked a little into the distance, and saw a couple of rabbits playing amongst some daisies. At least some animals were allowed in, it seemed, although she wasn't entirely sure if they were even real. She then licked her lips clean; sugar always had its way of keeping her mind sweetened.

"Right, my dear, I will leave you now. I am sure that one of these lovely gents.. or lady.." Strout smiled broadly at Smith. "Will show you around a little and see you off. Your study books have been taken to the main entrance reception, so please don't forget them when you leave. I await your arrival tomorrow, and I sincerely hope that you get a good night of sleep!"

Luna held out her hand instinctively to shake the senior Healer's, which Strout gratefully took a strong hold of and then placed a small and motherly kiss on the blonde's cheek. The older witch proceeded to wave to the rest of the Healers and disapparated.

"Come on then," Chang said, getting up from the wooden bench and onto his feet. "Greengrass is deligated cook for today, as most days... Ogden would secretly prefer to stay and eat it all.. and I'm sure that Breena here should be getting to her patients right now so that they don't miss the meal-"

"Well, excuse me, but I can talk for myself." Smith interrupted. "But yes, I do have to be getting to my own patients, unfortunately. Luna, you must join us for a few drinks later in the week, so that we can catch up a little better!"

"I might just do that." Luna beamed as she also stood up, and then she turned back to Chang. "Do you not have patients as well then?"

"Oh, yes we do. Breena's are a more special case though." Ogden replied for Chang, despite grabbing another plate of food which he had already begun to devour. "There are a good few Healer's here, and most of us deal with a good few patients which we share on rotation with others. Our group has been able to arrive a little later today, which is great because we get a lie-in on such days, to help with breakfasts. Some of the other Healers started around twelve hours ago, and will be due to finish once they start bringing the patients here. Once our twelve hours are up, they will be back... and so on and so forth. There are also shifts inbetween the two main ones, for part-timers, as well as more specified Healers, such as Breena, who have patients which are more exclusive to them."

"I tell you, three days off a week isn't enough time to recover sometimes," Smith chortled. "But, I wouldn't have it any other way. I really do love this job, and I hope that once you have found your feet; you will also."

The older witch bowed a little and, with a crack, disapparated too.

"I guess we will see you tomorrow, then!" Greengrass smiled a little at Luna. "And, honestly, don't worry if you've forgotten our names by then. Newbies always seem to be so worried about offending when remembering the name of somebody they've only just met... it's funny how small anxieties can make us draw such large blanks."

"Thankyou all for being so welcoming to me," Luna replied and jumped up ecstatically a little with her hands clasped. This seemed to frighten Greengrass which made Chang snigger at him. "I can't wait to get home, get my study books out of the way, and then get started tomorrow!"

"Don't be too optimistic about getting your study books done... I think we all were to start with. However, all that writing really does go through one ear and out the other.. especially when it splurges in too fast like that." Ogden advised, brushing more fallen crumbs from his robes. "I think mine took longer than the designated month, and it was probably much easier back then, but I knew the main bits to get through the tests with. If you do that, you'll do fine."

To be walking with just one other made Luna feel at peace again. She found it much easier talking one-to-one rather than to a group, as her mind had a little more space to unwind itself. It was such a beautiful day in the Recreation Room, and she almost felt like skipping through the tall grasses that her and Chang passed. They were walking down hill and towards the entrance that her and Strout had passed through initially.

"So.." He started, and scratched at his head a little. "I guess that you knew my sister, Cho, fairly well?"

"A little," Luna replied. "Not much, in truth, though. I was in the same house as her at Hogwarts, and we both associated with the same people."

"I was in Ravenclaw also," Chang smiled at the blonde witch, but it faltered quickly. "You probably still know her better than me, regardless. She is so much younger than me, and I fear that the age gap meant that we were never all that close."

"That's a real shame. I very much liked Cho, she was such a sweet girl." Luna said dreamily. "She was a really good Seeker for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team too, come to think of it. I assume it might have been you who got her into supporting the Tutshill Tornados?" Her palms began to itch again.

Chang laughed fondly. "Would she really need help from anybody to get her to support them? They are amazing!"

Luna bit her lip when Chang continued to smile as they walked; he obviously had no idea that the Tornados had been under a lot of scrutiny in the past for illegal broom tampering. She felt that it was probably best not to mention that right now, as he was quite obviously having some warming memories flutter through his head.

Through the door with the fiery wooden sun embellished on either side, and they came to the long and winding corridor once more, which Luna had daydreamed through most of last time. She would make sure that she took it all in better this time.

There were many doors that they passed, before turning through a large open archway which she had missed before.

"Where do the doors lead?" The young Ravenclaw asked.

"Oh, those are rooms for the shorter-term patients. Voluntary admissions, that sort of thing." He said. "Cho actually spent a little time there once before, I think it was to be the longest time I've ever spent with her - as short as it was."

"What is she doing these days?"

"She married a lovely muggle boy." They were now walking past more doors, as well as loads of portraits once more. "His name is Ning, but I can't quite place the surname. It's interesting that his name means tranquility; when she has always been in much need of just that. They have no children, yet, but I guess he's going to be in for a bit of a shock if they do. It's unsettling that due to the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, she can't even tell him of her magical blood until that time."

"There are muggles that call themselves witches too." Luna giggled. "Although they deal much more with herbs, healing, love, and spirituality. She could ease him in that way. It's good that she isn't a man... a witch - may just be believable - but they would never take to the idea of a wizard."

Chang gave Luna a strange look, as if he didn't quite believe her story.

They came to a very large room, with a few Healers in as well as their patients. There was a large television in the corner, with one of the old teachers of Hogwarts, Gilderoy Lockhart, poised in a chair infront of it, watching intently. He looked over at Luna for a moment, grinned and waved, and then turned back to it. She doubted that he recognised her, from what she had heard about his situation.

"This was the original Recreation Room. We call it the chill out room now, but, obviously, I doubt it is anywhere near chilled out as our newer one. As you can see, we have the luxury of having some Muggle television sets installed, which were granted by the Muggle prime minister. It shows mainly nature and wildlife programmes, as that is all we are licensed for. It was meant for our muggle-born residents, but, as you can see, everybody seems to take an interest."

The room was a bright magnolia colour, and replacing the usual portraits of people were scattered paintings featuring various breathtaking landscapes and flowers relaxing in the breeze. There was one in particular which caught her eye, which was of the moon in the night sky, with shooting stars flying across the background.

There was a mixture of at least fifteen loveseats and sofas situated around the room, each set to have a good view of the large television at the back. Gilderoy Lockhart was the only patient that Luna recognised from the five that were here, and she then began to wonder when she would meet Neville's parents.

An old grandfather clock stood tall beside the two of them, and Chang looked up to check the time. "I guess this must be where we part for today, as I must be getting to my patients." He said in a friendly tone. "I'm sorry that I can't escort you all the way, but if you go back to the archway just there, and take a left, and walk straight down to the end you'll recognise Strout's office on the right, and then the winding staircases down the to the other floors are a little beyond that."

"Thankyou, so much!" Luna gave him a peck on the cheek, and the wizard's cheeks flushed red. "I know my own way, so don't worry. I will see you bright and early tomorrow!"

"There is still much more to explore, but you've got the basics now. Just turn up early at Strout's office tomorrow, at around eight o'clock, and she'll take you from there." Chang's eyes sparkled and he gave her one last smile before he walked out of another door, which was on the other side of the room.

So many doors and corridors that I need to learn, I will definitely be in need of a map tomorrow. Luna decidedly thought.

As she walked through the archway once more, she noticed a black gated door directly infront of her. She could see that it led to some downward steps, and there were candles mounted on the walls either side behind the door. She looked briefly to her left, and she did recognise that part of the passage, and could see the location of Strout's office with a small squint of her eyes. The gated door was very enticing, and towards it she walked, beginning to excuse herself in her thoughts. If anyone sees me, I'll just say I got a little lost. She thought, but then she felt a little pang of guilt. I don't wish to get Chang into trouble... She pondered where she was for a few minutes, pulling her wand from out of her pocket and placing it behind her ear. I just won't get caught, then.

Conscience officially eased by her own doing, she swung the gate open and began to walk down some steps.

The corridors that the steps led to were stone and arched like the inside of a cave, all dimly lit and with flaming torches which were scattered along the walls sporadically. There were vault-like doors replacing those with the suns emblazoned upon them, and they reminded Luna very much of those she had seen countless times in the Gringotts Wizarding Bank. She felt as though she were in a maze, and nothing at all resembled any of the other sections of the Janus Thickey ward - which was actually turning out to be more of a hospital in its own right. Luna wondered what the intention of all of this was. She knew, almost immediately, that this is where the high profile criminals were most likely being held: but she wished that this was not the case. She wondered, for a moment, why these patients (as patients they were, like any other in the hospital) were being segregated to such a degree that even the decorations had to be befitting to them. Dark witches and wizards must equate to, at least in the opinion of the general public, such gloomy surroundings; but, without their wands, was there really any need for a much higher security? Was it for the benefit of the patients, their few visitors, or for the benefits of the staff? She knew that the occupants of all the rooms surrounding her would likely not be allowed such respite as that of the Recreation Room.

Luna wondered what it would look like in the rooms hidden behind the large metal vaults, each with so many locks twisting and entwining upon their rusting surfaces. The enchantments placed on them could be felt as she wandered, and she began to walk her fingers along the walls. Perhaps, each room was bigger than they appeared through more magical means. She pictured them full of colour and flowers, for surely these patients would need the biggest distractions. Her nails created a very satisfying clicking sound as they danced across each metal surface that they reached. The doors stood tall, as if meant to threaten, and she came to the conclusion that a goblin would surely have to open them.

The blonde witch then remembered a moment that she had shared with her father when she was young, when she had asked why she had had no toys as a child, or a room which had been spectacularly coloured and addorned; as most childrens' rooms are. Her father had told her that to give young children so many toys, so many unnecessary things, was for the benefit of the parents - and not their child. It would teach them to need external things for distractions, to ease their boredoms, and to soothe their pains, without need or want of contact from another person. She understood this and was glad that neither a comfort blanket, or a soft toy, had ever taken the place of a cuddle from her father.

How different it was then, before starting Hogwarts, that she had drawn and painted endless faces that she could not put names to. Faces that had never judged her, and faces that knew her every thought without ever speaking to her. The faces that she had spent hours, and even days, creating were not known to her until she had been at Hogwarts for a good few years. They had then become littered with imperfections, and were often very ordinary and understimulating to the eye; but they were now very real. They were seperate entities that could easily live their lives without her, and did not need her, but they had a want of her to fit her puzzling pieces into their existence. She had grown to want their puzzling pieces in return; so that they could all help to smooth eachother's naturally grown rough edges. Each person with their own individual remedies to another's problem. Each with their own style of bringing out the joy in another. Friendship had then become a truly fascinating thing.

She stopped at a door which had enchantments that seemed to be drawing her in, and she pressed her face against the rough cold exterior. Her fingers trailed across all the silvery protrusions that, on further inspection, seemed to be bolts and locks all shaped as different solar systems.

The cold on her face seemed to warm a little, and as soon as she thought she could hear the sound of loud heartbeats; a sudden loud and husky voice made her gasp with fright.

"Hello there, newbie. Please, be careful where you wander, and what you touch." It was coming from the only picture frame in the entire corridor. Although Luna had almost bypassed it, it was very large and the frame was made from a solid shimmering gold.

"Oh, hello." Luna stopped abruptly and walked over to the portrait.

The occupant was a man of average build, wearing plain black robes, and with a beautifully detailed white ruff around his neck. He had short dark hair and a thick beard which had some silver hairs protruding from it. His picture seemed a little faded, and appeared to be collecting a lot of dust.

Luna smiled as she recognised his face. "I see that you are occupying more than one painting, then. I remember you from a painting at Hogwarts, the Portait of Healers... situated close to the grand staircase."

"Ay, you do have a good memory." The occupant's eyes seemed to sparkle a little.

"Not really, I aim to speak to every portrait I pass. Each painting is like an entire library of information, as you all have such rich histories." The Ravenclaw said wistfully. "I guess that the walls would be very bare, if that were not the case."

"I do remember you, also. I have had it on good authority that you were the only one to come and search for all of us when that spineless caretaker had taken all of us down and put us all in an awfully dark room." The occupant sniffed loftily. "Such disrespect towards the ancestors. Having to hear the Fat Lady sing from such a close distance in that room was truly a muggle hell in itself."

The young witch giggled, remembering how much her Gryffindor friends had complained when they had to endure such ghastliness before being allowed to enter their common room.

"It's a good job that most of us have other paintings to escape to. I do so pity the ones who were unable to do so at that time." The occupant continued, and began to chuckle. "'It ain't over till the Fat Lady sings'... pah."

"I assume that the other five healers in your painting at Hogwarts have others too?" Luna enquired.

"Ah yes, yes they do, Miss Lovegood. As most historical witches and wizards do." He said. "We often had many artists asking for paintings back then, each as beautiful as the last. They are few and far between now, however. Although, I am most thankful that I never ended up on these collectable cards you get with your so-called Chocolate Frog treats these days. How busy I would be all day, if that were the case!"

The blonde witch felt a small delight that he had remembered her by name as well as her face, and decided that this portrait was definitely coated in far too much dust. She pulled the lime green cuff of her sleeve over her hand and began to wipe it all from view. The figure inside it moved to and fro so that she did not wipe across him directly and smudge any of his features.

"Many kind regards, I can see clearly once more!" His tone was most grateful as she finished, and he looked at his robes with a wide smile. "And you, dear lady, have become quite the beauty. My name is Saint Bonham, by the way. Saint Mungo Bonham."

"Oh? So you're the founder of this hospital!" Luna pulled the skirts of her robes to the sides and curtsied, bowing her head so low that her hair fell across her face in their long lemon tangles. Her wand, which had been delicately poised behind her right ear, fell to the floor and the sound echoed down the corridor.

"I don't usually like to say.." Bonham said sheepishly and stroked his beard with one hand. "However, it's been so long since I've had a clean and all that dust was getting rather tiresome. In fact, it has been even longer still since I've received such a wonderful curtsy!"

The young witch grinned and picked her wand up from the floor. She was glad that she had become aquainted with such an extraordinary wizard. He might only be but a painted memory, but was one that was was so important in the history of the hospital. She had found, time and time again, how beneficial it was to interact with such things that most overlook or dismiss. Had it not been a portrait of Professor Phineas Nigellus Black that had helped Harry, Ron, and Hermione in their quests? Despite any ancient prejudices the Slytherin may have held, he was a former headmaster of Hogwarts and therefore a fountain of knowledge who had been overlooked, for a time.

She was reminded, again, of all the unknown faces she had drawn when she was a little girl, and how often she had wished that they would speak to her. Perhaps, if they had, by some fluke, resembled a living person that she had never met.. then they would have been brought to life too.

Luna remembered that she had even made countless rough drafts of her mother, and they were all too often so close in resembling her.. but she had never completely finished a single one. Each draft was almost perfect besides a missing ear, or an eye, or even as close to resemblance as missing just a single lock of hair.

A horrendous noise broke the silence that Luna had floundered into.

She immediately looked up at the painting once more, but the occupant, with his eyebrows raised, merely shook his head.

The Ravenclaw turned on her heel, the skirts of her robes flaring around her, to face the vault-like door which she had pressed herself up against, in interest, before her meeting with Bonham.

The noise started up again, from behind the door, a nasty retching sound which offensively rang through her ears. She had not heard such a sound since she had seen her aunt stick her fingers down her throat to try and vomit out Aquavirius Maggots, which she had unfortunately ingested after trying food from a sub-standard muggle restaurant. It sounded very painful, and Luna knew that with such heaving there was always a risk of all the organs falling from the mouth.

Taking a few steps towards the door, Bonham spoke up once more. "You're really going in there, aren't you?" he asked, but it was more of an inquisitive tone rather than a concerned one.

"I didn't think I'd be able to. I assumed goblins had to open all of these doors." She said, not looking back at the portrait. "Besides, I have my wand. Whoever is in there really doesn't sound well at all."

"You are a very curious witch." She heard from behind her.

The blonde placed her hand on the door, and heard the sound of loud muffled heartbeats once more, as well as feeling all the surrounding enchantments pull her in, and she then proceeded to push against it a little. It gave way much more easily than she had previously expected such a weighted door to. One glance back at the portrait, and Bonham had vanished. Luna easily guessed that he must have gone to one of his other portraits to tell Strout where she happened to be, not that she minded at all. Her hand tightened around her wand, but instead of keeping it drawn, she tucked it into one of her long white socks. It did make her feel a little more safe in the knowledge that a Senior would arrive here soon, regardless of what she would find behind this door. It's not like I could just leave here with this door left open, anyway, and I haven't the faintest idea of how to lock it again. She assured herself.

Once it had swung open freely, the young witch stepped inside. The colourful decorations and flowers that she had hoped to see were nowhere. It was not a large room, as she had expected, but long and narrow. She felt that no enchantments had been cast anywhere but on the high security door which was now behind her, and it had swung itself shut with a bang. The walls were stone, and the floor had no carpets and was coldly left cobbled. There was a small bookcase at the back of the room, squashed against a boorish four poster bed which seemed to be the only luxury in the entire room, but only with the smallest raggedy blanket. Luna winced as she noted the drab orange paint which was peeling from all corners of the stone walls. Orange was the worst colour they could have chosen for such a narrow room, she knew. There was an empty picture frame which had been callously nailed to the ceiling, and that was it. It was such a stark contrast to all the other beautiful things that she had seen since being here, and it had taken her completely by suprise.

Always one to get a little lost in the details, she must have missed what was behind her and felt a hand clasp itself around her mouth, and another burrowed through her hair, and in a second she was pulled to the floor with a fair amount of strength. The pain from the force did not fully register and her heart did not beat any faster than usual. The Ravenclaw tried to form words around the tight grasp, but even she had no idea what she was trying to say. She felt it unnecessary to draw her wand, even at this point, as she didn't want to frighten her captor anymore than she had done so already with the sudden intrusion.

"Sssssshh." A warm mouth spoke against her ear, and the hiss seemed to curl itself around her eardrum. "They will find us, best for us to keep quiet, little one." It was a rasping whisper, but it was loud enough for the young witch to realise that it belonged to a woman.

The acidic breath, which made her nostrils flare in disgust, put Luna's insides on edge a little more than the familarity of the voice did. The hold this woman had of her meant that she was pulled right against a strange collarbone which jutted outward and poked at the back of her head uncomfortably. The stench of vomit filled the room now, and a wetness seeped through her robes, and she realised that her and this woman were sitting amongst it.

The hand that had been clasped around her mouth now moved to her throat, and she felt a crooked nail drag itself lightly across the side of it and up to her ear. A nose then pushed itself onto the top of her head, and some long raggedy black curls bounced over the blonde's face, as the woman drew a sharp intake of air.

"Mmmm. You do smell good, little one." The woman hissed, and the hand embedded in her hair pulled Luna's head round gently to look at the face below a little better.

The young witch was confronted with heavily-lidded eyes which were almost black and were skirted with very long eyelashes. Eyes that she knew extremely well. The familiarity of the voice become clear, and Luna felt the strange sensation of the hair at the back of her neck standing on end, which must have almost matched the unruly, thick, shining tresses that she had come to know so well. It was a shock to see her, and for a second or two she couldn't quite believe it. Was it just someone that looked like her? The blonde witch noted that she did not look much like she had so before. The woman's face was much more gaunt and her strong jaw and cheekbones poked out as obviously as her collarbones did. Truthfully, there really was no denying that it was her. Still held tightly, the woman did seem to be not much more than skin and bone all over. It seemed that her hair had been strained into a simple high ponytail, perhaps even weeks before, as the curls had mostly fallen out and fell about them both like a raven waterfall.

"Oh?" The older witch tutted and looked very disappointed for a few moments. "You're not who I thought you were." Her grip loosened and she pushed against Luna's back gently a few times, signalling for her to get out of such a close proximity.

The Ravenclaw stood up, and straightened out her robes, but was careful not to touch the vomit that she knew to be all down the back of them. She could feel that the moisture had leaked through her socks too, and she did not much want to see what colour the pristine white had turned to now.

"Bellatrix Lestrange." Luna said darkly, staring down at the barely human figure infront of her.

"Hm? Well, that's rather rude." The dark witch replied, which made Luna raise an eyebrow slightly, and then she yawned deeply whilst outstretching her arms. "This room is strange, it keeps closing in on me. I do keep saying, but no-one believes it."

The young witch was aware of her wand sticking into her leg, should she need it, but she still couldn't quite believe just how subdued Bellatrix was right now. She couldn't quite believe that this even was Bellatrix. Was she not dead? Killed at the Battle of Hogwarts a year before? Also, to be sitting in her own vomit, was not something she had ever expected to see this noblewoman doing. A murderess, and a dark witch, but she was still a noblewoman, being that she was a part of the most ancient Black family. Her clothing was all wrong, there was no steel-boned corset clasping at her innards so tightly that it made the Ravenclaw's eyes water, as it had done so many times before. There was no lavish lace, no velvets or satins that shone in such an emerald and dark liquor iridescence, as they had done so before. Only a simple black cotton top coupled with a simple long and layered black skirt, which was hitched up in a really undignified manner that revealed scabby knees on some rather small, and sallow, legs. If there was an attribute that was the biggest signature to her name, other than her masses of hair, or dark brown eyes that came alive at the sight or blood, then it was her pride: and Luna sensed not one ounce. At least, not right now.

She remembered how it had been at Malfoy Manor, and just how excited those near-black eyes had been then at the sight of young witch's blood. Even at the sight of her own, her eyes had grown wider still, as Luna's nails had snagged at her skin slightly in defence. She could not remember any pain that the dark witch had relentlessly tried to inflict on her, in order to get information about the Golden Trio's whereabouts. Bellatrix had grown very bored of her fairly quickly, and had passed her along to Fenrir Greyback who she had half-expected to tear her up in his jaws. Yet, the only pains she found easy to sense during those weeks were that from every witch and wizard surrounding her. Even if the blonde witch did know of Harry, Ron, and Hermione's location at the time, she would have died with it. She knew that she was in there mainly because of The Quibbler printing support for Harry Potter, but she was truly prepared to die with the Death Eaters simply thinking that she was hiding them: her friends.

It had taken her so long to find some true friends, who believed in her, and who legitimately wanted her around; she wouldn't have given a single one up for the sun nor the moon and the stars.

The raven-haired witch sniffed gutturally, and became animated once more by moving her arm upwards and across her face to wipe her nose.

Luna began to look around for anything to clean up the mess that surrounded Bellatrix, but all that caught her eye was the raggedy blanket on the bed. I really can't use that... she sighed heavily in her head.

She turned once more to the dark witch, who now seemed totally oblivious to the new company she had and was beginning to pick the scabs from her knees to make way for tiny crimson bubbles.

The young Ravenclaw moved back towards the older witch, and kneeled down infront of her, not minding the new wetness which was now seeping into the front of her socks and turning them completely to ruin.

"I don't much think that you'll be alarmed... but, just in case, I'm just letting you know that I'm going to draw my wand to clean this mess, okay?" Luna said. The dark witch's head was lowered but she looked up at her intently with her large eyes.

Luna felt that it might be too trusting of a move, and that at any moment Bellatrix could revert and snatch her wand away from her.

"I'm going to stand back and do the spell from a distance, okay?" And when the older witch nodded slightly, the blonde took a few steps back and aimed her wand at the floor, and made sure that the other witch would know that she wasn't aiming it directly at her. "I'm doing it now... Scourgify."

Bars of soap and some wet sponges appeared and began to clean the floor, as well as Bellatrix, and a couple made there way over to Luna to give her a clean as well. She looked down at her socks and the back of her robes, which were all stained but at least the worst of it had been removed.

"Now to get us both a little warmer... Exaresco." The Ravenclaw then whispered, and then both witches' clothes were immediately warm and dry, and even the floor had no puddle to be seen. She then tucked her wand securely back into the top of one of her socks.

Bellatrix was silent, but still watching her intently. Luna began to wonder why that was exactly, and she hoped that the dark witch wasn't planning anything in her thoughts.

"Your wretching sounded painful, I could hear it from all the way out there." The older witch's eyes darted briefly to the door next to her as the blonde spoke. "Do you need anything for it? Do you want me to help you into bed? I know that violent sickness like that really takes it out of you, you must be awfully tired."

Then, a small and husky cough, to clear her throat, before a voice managed to croak from the raven-haired witch. "I sleep right here. I don't like to be stared at."

"Oh... I'm sorry.." Luna said, and she turned towards the bed which was in the corner. "I'll bring your bed here, then. You can't sleep on such a cold floor, it'll put too much strain on your bones... and who knows what's crawling around in here.."

The blonde witch began to pull the mattress from the bed, as well as the tattered blanket, and heaved it across the empty room and close to where Bellatrix sat. "I only wish I had more blankets for you, this old thing can't be keeping you warm one bit. Oh - I've got just the thing!"

She drew her wand once more and picked up the blanket, and pointed her wand at it. "Leviteraestus-estus." She whispered, and then smiled. "There, it'll be much warmer for you now."

She walked closer to the dark witch and held out the blanket to her, but Bellatrix did not take it and merely looked in the other direction, and so she placed it on her bare feet so that she could feel the slight warmth which was emitting from it.

Luna didn't much think that she was going to get anything more from the Slytherin, and she began to feel a little worried that she might be putting her under some sort of distress. "I'm going to go, now, but I will surely see you again, if I can. If you're okay with that."

With one eye on the older witch, she opened the door once more, and then almost ran out with a slam - and the sudden rush of adrenaline took her by suprise. She held the door back tightly to ensure that if it was still unlocked, so then it wouldn't be easy for a very tired and malnourished Bellatrix to escape. Although, it had been very easy for her to pull her to the floor in such a ghastly state.

"Don't worry, it's locked." Came a voice from behind her.

"Are you sure? I feel unsettled about letting go." She replied, and looked around to see that Bonham was back in his painting and grinning at her.

"It's fine, honestly. Would I lie to such a pretty lady?" He affirmed, and the Ravenclaw felt herself relax a little. "Did your curiosity satisfy you then?"

Luna let go, and saw the solar systems moving and churning back to as they had been before she had touched it previously.

"Well, I don't think it killed me." She replied, and padded over to the portrait once more, the moments inbetween each of her glances back becoming longer. "Did you know that she was in there?"

"Bellatrix Black? Or... Bellatrix Lestrange, as you know her? But, of course. I've come to know her really quite well from this distance. Prone to bouts of sudden rage, that one." Bonham adjusted the ruff around his neck for more comfort. "I'm suprised that you didn't already know that, however, but I guess they originally wanted to ease you in. Which means, you have been wandering again, have you Miss Lovegood?"

Luna smiled at the mention of her name once more, as well as the rememberance of her wandering. "I very much like to wander, even in my sleep."

"I have seen it for myself!" Bonham laughed.

"I did not even know that Madame Lestrange was here..." Luna continued, but trailed off her own sentence.

"That suprises me, as many people do seem to." He replied. "Too many want to go and have a look at her, and, if you ask me, it's a total breach of privacy and dignity.. As a founder of this hospital, I do not condone it one bit."

"Her room looks as though it were made to breach that too." The Ravenclaw felt a little saddened at the contrast between it and what she had seen up till now. She wondered what the rooms of the long-term patients, who were not in segregation, would look like. Clean, colourful, with books to read and enjoy, carpet to roll around on, and a warm, comfy bed to sleep in?

"Unfortunately, this witch in particular is probably used to such conditions. Azkaban would not have had a bed to sleep in, nor a pot to piss in." Bonham then coughed. "S-sorry... I didn't mean to swear infront of a lady such as yourself."

"No worries." Luna said, and once again found herself rubbing the itching sensations away from her hands - trying desperately to quell herself from scratching the flesh right from them.

"I figure that you should be on your way now, little miss.. and be sure to walk a few steps faster when you pass Miriam's office." He winked at her kindly.

Luna bowed her head low once more and curtsied. She decided that she really liked Bonham, and figured that he'd be good to converse properly with at another time. The blonde then wondered if he had any more portraits hung elsewhere in more public sectors of the hospital. She would like to keep to her word and visit the dark witch again, if she could, but first, she had a lot of studying and research to do... mainly to discover how she had never learnt that His Last Best Lieutenant had survived.

On her way out of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, she looked up at the old abandoned muggle department store which was made from red brick, and then to the large sign saying 'Closed for Refurbishment'. She clutched at her study books as she took in each detail. It looked so dilapidated and decayed in comparison to how much beauty and darkness that she know knew to be behind those walls, and Luna found it to be a most beautiful sight.

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