The Lady of Azkaban

by Cahira of the Dawn

AN: *groans* I should so not start another fic! But that's my fatal flaw. If I get an idea then I've just got to post it. I'm way in over my head. Ah well, on with the fic anyway...

P.S- This is a Sirius/Hotaru fic. I think they are an original couple, but if anyone knows stories with that pairing then please tell me.

Chapter One:

My name is Hotaru Tomoe, and I was born in Azkaban.

My first memories are of a dark cell, dimly lit by the flickering glow of torches. I remember the feel of my mother's cold hands against my skin as she pulled me close, shrouding me in her tattered robes. She was trying to hide me away from the dementors. Seeking to keep me hidden from their rasping, hollow jaws and gnarled gray hands. Like every other prisoner she feared them, but I did not.

I should never have been kept in Azkaban. If the ministry had known that I existed they would have taken me away in an instant. But they did not. My mother, as one of the most dangerous yet unimportant prisoners, was hidden deep in the bowels of the prison. She was never visited by the ministry and they never realized that she was pregnant. And who could she have told? The dementors could not speak! How could they pass such a message to an official? So she gave birth to me and brought me up in the darkness of the dungeons.

I never feared the dementors. They could not harm me, so, as I was of no use to them, they left me alone to do as I wished. For some reason they found that they could steal nothing from my soul. Maybe it was because I was born with their power all around me, but I could use the power of fear and misery just as they could. I had no need to feed from it, but I could wield it like a weapon. I didn't think I was strange. It was just something that I could do.

When I was nine years old I made my first friend in the prison. Mother was already getting ill by then, and she no longer tried to stop me wandering around. Serenity was fourteen and full of happiness. I'd never seen someone as... luminous as her in my life. She bright and bubbly with laughter in her soul. She never stopped talking and singing away. I thought she was just magical.

"What's it like outside Azkaban Serenity?" I leaned through the bars of her cell and took her hand. "Is it like here?"

"Oh no!" she exclaimed, "Its beautiful out there! All bright and colorful! You would like all the people Hotaru. They talk and laugh just like I do."

"What are colors like?" I had never seen that much color. Azkaban was mostly gray and black.

"You don't know what colors are? Your a strange girl Hotaru." She pulled of her brooch and handed it to me. "These are colors Hotaru. Aren't they pretty?"

I looked at her brooch in wonderment. It was pink and yellow with silver swirls all around the edge. The jewel in the center was the loveliest though. It glowed with all the colors of the rainbow as it shimmered under the faint light.

"Its lovely Serenity. So lovely..."

"Do you wan to keep it Hotaru?"

I looked up, astonished. "You'd really let me keep it? Really?!"

"Of course." She smiled sadly, "Keep it safe, won't you Hotaru?"

Serenity began to change after that. It wasn't a fast change, but slowly, day by day, she was becoming more like the other prisoners. Sad, lonely and broken...

One day I came to her cell, only to find her gone. There was no trace of her left. Nothing to mark the passing of a special friend. Even as I stood and stared at the empty room, tears began to trickle down my face. I knew what happened when prisoners vanished from their cells. They had gone mad. They had died. And the dementors had taken them away. There was an ache inside me that threatened to turn my silent tears into full blown wails.

I decided then, that no one else would worm their way into my heart. I was a child of Azkaban and I knew that nothing lasted long in this place. Nothing. No one.

That fact was proved only a few months later. My mother's illness became worse. The depression and solitude finally got the better of her need to protect me. She died, and I was finally all alone.

I was a child of Azkaban and I froze my heart to love.

That is, until he came. When I was fourteen years old...