Flash! Bellatrix!

He laughs. He just laughs! Doesn't he understand that this is deathly serious? You wonder whether he even knows how important this mission is.

You suppose he just thinks it's insane—to have the kind of devotion, belief, loyalty—that you have for your Lord. You wonder if he's ever felt anything that keenly. He must have though—he escaped that dreadful, cold Azkaban before you did. All the sanity you managed to hold on to in that place you owe to your Lord. To whom does he owe his sanity?

He taunts you. Says, "You can do better than that!" And he keeps laughing. Furious, you give him your best Glare. Your Glare no longer intimidates him—and he always used to stand up to you, glaring right back, anyway, while your sisters took you to task.

You send another spell his way. You can barely see straight, you're so angry.

You catch him off guard. That laugh…Suddenly, you know, this spell will hit. You've won! You half turn, trying to scan the room for the Potter brat. You're sure he still has the prophecy.

Against your will, your eyes are pulled back to him. He's falling backward, toward that tattered veil. And, in that instant, you know you've condemned him to death. He's falling, falling…

Suddenly you're seventeen again, and you're walking determinedly toward him—him and that blood traitor friend of his, James Potter. You hate Potter. And you hate the influence Potter has over him.

You ask him, "Where were you?" You're referring to this past summer—the summer he ran away from home. You think you know where he was…Damn Potter! And his son—the half-blood brat.

He looks adorably bewildered. You hate that. "Where was I...?" he asks.

"This summer," you say pointedly. You glance at Potter. He knows you mean, leave, but he stares right back, with a stubborn set to his jaw, and you know you can't get him to leave the two of you alone, unless you hex him unconscious.

The thought that this probably classifies Potter as a "good friend" infuriates you. You turn away from Potter, who is, after all, scum, and back to him.

"You left!" You scream at him. Will he never understand? "Do you have any inkling what you've done? Aunt Walburga's burned you off the tapestry. First Gryffindor and now this? She's heartbroken. How could you?" There are tears in your eyes now, and you wonder if he can see them.

"I had to go!" he shouts. "Have you MET my parents?" At this, your eyes open wide with shock. Traitor! you want to scream. How, how can he say such things—his parents—you'll never understand him. "Although I guess you think all that 'pureblood supremacy' crap is the greatest thing since Spell-Checking Quills," he says bitterly.

"Blood traitor!" you shout. "Does family mean so little to you?"

"Do morals mean so little to you?" he responds. "Don't you see, Bella? The path you're going down will mean your ruin. Voldemort isn't your salvation—he's evil, Bella! Can't you see where Black family prejudice is taking you? Before long you'll be one of them! Lestrange is." You flinch at this mention of your boyfriend. How dare he bring him into this? "Lestrange is a Death Eater—a murderer! If you let him introduce you to your precious Dark Lord—all I know is, Bella, you'll regret it. I don't want to see any family member of mine in his clutches."

It's useless, you realize. You're not getting through to him. He doesn't understand the Cause. The Dark Lord is the future. "Then maybe I don't want to be part of your family," you say sadly.

"You're not!" he yells. For a moment you think he's going to curse you. "You—all of you!—trying to poison me with your 'high ideals'—your prejudice—you're no family of mine!"

Shocked and hurt, you scream at him. For all you know, you are completely incoherent, since he just walks away, arm in arm with Potter.

You wait before boarding the train—you want your composure back. You know he hates you for what happened to Regulus. You blame him, he blames you. You hate him for joining Dumbledore and his precious 'Order of the Pheonix.' You still think it's a strange name. He hates you for being a Death Eater. You hate him for loving the Potters. You wonder if he hates you. You wonder if you deserve it.

You try to squelch your emotions, as you watch him fall backward through the veil. You hear the voices whisper to him. Whispering…Your last coherent thought before you bury all your emotions firmly in your subconscious—your Lord won't be pleased with such weakness in his most faithful Death Eater—is touched with irony.

He said you'd regret it.