Chapter 1

Rodolphus Lestrange

May 2nd, 1998

As soon as Bella's dead body hit the floor Rodolphus felt as if a veil had been ripped in two and he was being able to see clearly. Ducking behind a wall he tried to assess the situation. A fight was going on, in the middle of Hogwarts! Children were fighting against seasoned Death Eaters! He had a shield up just in time to prevent a wall collapsing on himself and another wizard, a Weasley probably, judging by his hair.

"Thanks, mate. I'll join your shield, we move sideways and then drop on three?"

"That might work. All stand clear!" Rod's last words were shouted to alert anyone in the vicinity that the wall was about to come down. When the dust settled the redhead was nowhere to be seen and Rodolphus reached deep into his magic to feel for his little brother. He followed the familiar tug up through the castle, shielding children, ducking curses and incapacitating those Death Eaters he met who were true believers of the Dark Lord's cause like MacNair, Greyback and the Carrows. He finally found Rabastan disillusioned, guarding the hallway leading towards the Hogwarts infirmary.

"Rab, are you all right?"

"Roddy! Let me look into your eyes! – So Bellatrix is dead, the Imperius gone. Forgive me if I skip the condolences."

"Rab, let's leave! It is wrong to fight against children. Everything is wrong!"

"I am not fighting, I am guarding them."

"The aurors won't ask. I am not going back to Azkaban, I'd rather be obliverated by our old family wards if they chose to attack us there. Please come with me!"

Rab's eyes went to the infirmary door.

"I have to keep watch!"

Just then the door opened and a small blond witch carrying a basket full of soiled bandages to a chute in the wall next to where the brothers were standing invisible. After emptying the basket the girl turned towards the still invisible wizards, a tired smile on her face.

"Thank you, Mr Lestrange. The worst danger has passed, please stay safe yourself. Good bye!"

After the puzzling witch had entered the infirmary again Rab turned towards his brother, "We can leave now, Roddy."

They Apparated home to their ancestral manor, raising the centuries old family wards. Safely behind them they trudged to upstairs to their childhood bedroom where their beds were positioned in one corner head to head and slept for nearly two days.

After that a frantic elf woke Rodolphus up as Rabastan was sweating and shivering in his sheets. He knew he could not risk St. Mungo's when their legal status was so precarious. Rod sent an elf to find out the fate of Severus Snape, the one of the Death Eaters with the most training in healing.

The elf returned with the news that the Potions master was fighting for his life in St. Mungo's after Voldemort had set Nagini on him. Together Rodolphus and his two elves bathed Rabastan, put on fresh sheets and tried to get him to drink a tisane to help flush out the potions he'd taken for the last two years. Rabastan had been hardly out of Hogwarts when his sister in law had taken him along to torture the Longbottoms. As he refused to join in he'd been Crucio'ed along with the two Order members. Thrown into Azkaban without any medical attention the wizard was still prone to random muscle seizures. After Voldemort had broken them out of Azkaban Roddy had wanted to leave the madman who looked like a snake and was as far away from the original goals of the Knights of Walpurgis as he could get. Bellatrix sensed her husband's change of mind and put him under the Imperius curse. Rabastan relied heavily on muscle relaxing and boosting potions to get through the day and keep his older brother somewhat safe.

Now he was suffering from withdrawal. The potions he'd taken had been dark in nature and had offered no cure – Severus had started to research for one but the war had curtailed his time – and he did not wish to take them any longer. Rodolphus and the elves were helpless to watch, they could only try to make Rabastan more comfortable and wait.

In the end it had taken close to two weeks before his little brother was coherent again. Coherent but terribly week. A mental breakdown followed as the wizard - now that his brother was out from under his wife's spell - could let go, he no longer had to keep both of them safe. Rod spent his time either holding his crying brother close or working to change their legal situation. He was grateful for Amelia Bones being at the helm of the MLE, the witch had a reputiation of being scrupoulously fair. The family barrister Alexander Pucey was collecting evidence and putting together a case.