The Blackest Potter

A/N: Welcome one and all to my fourth attempt at Harry Potter fanfiction. For those of you that are interested, my starting this story is a good sign regarding future updates of my others. This plot bunny has simply grown too large to ignore, though, so here we are.

This is a response to the Mother Knows Best challenge posted on the pottersplace3 yahoo group. If you're interested in reading it, it can also be found on my profile here. Within the first several chapters, you'll find a couple of flashbacks, which will be in italics. Aside from that, I think everything is self-explanatory. I have this along with a first chapter (which is considerably longer than this) written out, and I've outlined several more in some detail. I'll submit the first chapter in a day or two, and hopefully you can expect the next chapter of Stolen Magic pretty soon after that.

Rating-wise, this piece is rated R for now. I don't plan on including explicit sex, although I might end up bumping up the rating to NC-17 later. As the story stands, the rating is more for violence than anything else.

Disclaimer: This is a blanket disclaimer. It covers the entire story, saving me the trouble of posting it in my notes for every chapter. I don't own any part of the Harry Potter universe. Now with that out of the way, we can finally begin.

Prologue

"Bellatrix, Rodolphus, guard the perimeter. I shall be most displeased if you allow anyone past you," Lord Voldemort said softly, his voice cracking like a whip against her skin, despite his quiet tone. "Severus, Wormtail, you have both proven your mettle in the recent past. You may accompany me inside. As I have already told you, do not harm the babe."

Wormtail straightened proudly, his disillusioned form becoming slightly more visible because of the motion. Bella suppressed a snort with difficulty. Hardly anyone understood Wormtail, but Bella was an expert at cultivating information about her fellow Death Eaters. More than anything else, the little rat was driven by his lust for Lily Potter. The Dark Lord would presumably give her to Wormtail, though Bella expected him to have to share. Despite her status as a mudblood, many Death Eaters entertained not-so-secret fantasies about the auburn-haired beauty.

From there, her thoughts shifted to Severus Snape, one of the most unreadable men she had ever come across. Beyond his hatred of James Potter, which nearly everyone in the wizarding world knew about, Bella had no idea what motivated him. She was actually quite interested to see how he would behave once his archenemy was dead.

A flash of light from inside the house drew her attention back to the outside world. She hadn't even seen them enter. Though eager when she first heard where they were going, Bella now felt a strange mix of emotions as she watched the Potter house.

When she was little, her parents had attempted to instill their pureblood supremacist beliefs in her, as well as in her sisters. The eldest, Andromeda, had abandoned those beliefs as quickly as she could, marrying a muggleborn wizard of considerable power by the name of Tonks immediately after leaving Hogwarts. Bella had believed her parents until her years at Hogwarts, when she discovered that some of the most powerful students there were muggleborns.

From that point on, Bella sought only power. Voldemort was the power she found, and he just happened to believe her parents' doctrine. Under his tutelage, she'd absorbed the dark arts like a sponge, becoming more powerful than she had ever dreamed.

It wasn't worth it.

Voldemort would always be more powerful than her, and because she joined him, she was subjected to his every whim. Eventually, at his command, she married Rodolphus Lestrange. He was fanatical in his devotion to Voldemort, and downright sadistic when it came to his victims. He was also terrible in bed.

The memories of the unspeakable acts Voldemort forced her to commit swirled in her conscious as her husband paced about like an impatient schoolboy. She only snapped out of it when she heard an inhuman shriek of pain from inside the house. It sounded like her master.

Within a second, she and Rodolphus had dashed inside, hoping for two completely different things. James Potter was the first thing they saw, or rather his corpse, which hung from the ceiling. His face was contorted into an expression of agony, and there were a pair of long gashes running up and down his torso. This was clearly the work of Snape and his favored curse, Sectumsempra, though Bella suspected that he had needed Wormtail's help, as James Potter was a skilled duelist. The room around them was in ruin. Chairs and tables reduced to splinters, part of a bookshelf sticking out of a wall. Only a curious black box with a pane of black glass covering most of one side of it remained intact. Bella correctly assumed it to be a muggle device of some sort.

Rodolphus pushed past her and raced into the next room. She heard him climb a set of stairs and stop.

"Bella, come here!" Rodolphus sounded panic-stricken, and though she was reluctant to do anything he asked, Bella's curiosity overcame her dislike for her husband.

"What did you find?" she asked as she reached the top of the steps. Any other words she had planned to say died in her throat when she saw that her husband was holding the Dark Lord's robes.

"They were just there, on the floor," he stammered, looking terrified.

"What of Lily Potter?" Bella asked, her thoughts racing.

"Dead," Rodolphus replied, regaining some of his composure. "Only the boy remains alive."

"The Dark Lord vanished, the Potters dead, except for their son..." Bella muttered, trying to make sense of things. "His wand?"

"I think Wormtail or Snape took it when they disapparated," her husband answered.

"Then we can't use it to check for spells," she whispered. Her expression became inscrutable as her thoughts turned inward. A moment later, her expression unchanging, she raised her wand at her husband and quietly intoned, "Avada Kedavra." He fell to the floor with a thud, his master's robes covering the shocked expression on his face.

Brutally suppressing her elation at Rodolphus' death, Bella's concentration never broke. She had used that spell for two reasons. The first, obviously, was to kill her husband and be free of him. The second, however, was to aid her search for earlier echoes of that same curse. Bella was immediately able to sense two more killing curses. She stepped over Rodolphus' prone body into the nursery and checked Lily's body as well as the sleeping babe. Both had the residue of the curse on them, suggesting to her that the Dark Lord had used the curse on both parties. However, the boy was alive and unharmed, save for a gash on his forehead.

Bella sighed, rubbing her forehead. The boy, Harry Potter, had apparently not only survived the killing curse, something that shouldn't be possible, but had somehow reflected its power back onto the original caster. To someone who coveted power as Bella did, finding such a child was a miracle. His parents were gone, her master and husband were gone, it seemed logical in her mind for her to take the child and raise him as her own. His power would be enough to rule the wizarding world, like her master's was, but she would steer him right. She would raise him to be noble and good, but still ruthless when necessary. She would raise the perfect leader, and have a place at his side as his closest advisor.

But first, they would have to run.