Summary: It is a spiraling descent of those left in Azkaban.
She is thrust into a cell. Master will be back. He will reward me. The door slams shut. The guard gives her a disgusted look as he turns away. She sneers. Then the cold comes. Descending out of nowhere. She screams. Master will be back. My lord will return.
Her worst memories wash over her over and over and over. Humiliation at the hands of the girls in a rival House. Her father's beatings. The disappointment in her mother's eyes... Her sister's wedding day...
My lord will return!
Master rewards the faithful...
I am faithful...
The words resound in her head. They mingle together with the memories. The never ending streams of memories.
Sensations run together. The days merge into one. There is no dark and there is no light. She is surrounded by never ending gray. And the cold. The cold is always there. Her blanket is long threadbare, but the cold never stops.
Failing her lord. The disappointment in her husband's eyes. The jeers of the students. Her sister's betrayal...
I am faithful!
Her sanity slips further from her grasp as each day goes by. Fifteen years she survives.
She looks up. "My lord," she breathes in startled recognition. The face is different. But here is her Master. Her eyes are clouded by the long years of misery.
"You have been faithful, Bella."
A/N: Not exactly canon, not exactly AU. Blame it (any incorrect facts) on the fact that I didn't exactly have my copy of OotP handy when I wrote this, and that I was mostly playing with ideas.