A/N: Welcome to my story! This is my first fic, and I'm still getting used to everything on this site, so feel free to leave me any constructive criticism =]

The opening paragraphs of this chapter are taken from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, pages 594-596. I edited them to cut out most of the dialogue that belongs to Barty Crouch, Jr., as the focus of the prologue doesn't center on him.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to the amazing J.K. Rowling. I own only the characters you do not recognize.


Prologue

The dementors placed each of the four people in the four chairs with chained arms that now stood on the dungeon floor. There was a thickset man who stared blankly up at Mr. Crouch; a thinner and more nervous-looking man, whose eyes were darting around the crowd; a woman with thick, shining dark hair and heavily hooded eyes, who was sitting in the chained chair as though it were a throne; and a boy in his late teens, who looked nothing short of petrified.

Crouch stood up. He looked down upon the four in front of him, and there was pure hatred in his face.

"You have been brought here before the Council of Magical Law," he said clearly, "so that we may pass judgment on you, for a crime so heinous that we have rarely heard the like of it within this court. We have evidence against you. The four of you stand accused of capturing an Auror – Frank Longbottom – and subjecting him to the Cruciatus Curse, believing him to have knowledge of the present whereabouts of your exiled master, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

"You are further accused of using the Cruciatus Curse on Frank Longbottom's wife, when he would not give you information. You planned to restore He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to power, and to resume the lives of violence you presumably led while he was strong.

"I now ask the jury to raise their hands if they believe, as I do, that these crimes deserve a life sentence in Azkaban!"

In unison, the witches and wizards along the right-hand side of the dungeon raised their hands. The crowd around the walls began to clap, their faces full of savage triumph. The boy began to scream.

The dementors were gliding back into the room. The woman with the heavy-lidded eyes looked up at Crouch and called, "The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!"

The crowd was jeering, some of them on their feet. "Take them away!" Crouch roared, spit flying from his mouth. "Take them away, and may they rot there!"


Narcissa was allowed to see her before she was taken to Azkaban. Pale and shaking, the youngest Black sister clutched at the steel bars of Bellatrix's holding cell, as if needing them for support. "Bella…Bella, I…how am I going to get through this?" she whispered miserably.

"Don't be a twit, Cissy, you'll be fine," Bellatrix scoffed, her dark eyes boring into Narcissa's pale ones. She was sitting against the far wall, arms crossed. "Really, there's no need to be so overdramatic." A wistful look came over her striking features and her next words were spoken with fervor. "He'll be back one day, Cissy. The Dark Lord will rise again. They can lock me up, but in the end it will make no difference. The Dark Lord will reward me handsomely for my faith." She considered Narcissa, her expression becoming dark. "If only I could say the same for you."

Narcissa ignored this. "But Bella –"

"But what, Narcissa?" Bellatrix snapped, getting to her feet and closing the distance between herself and her sister, until they were separated only by the bars of her cell. She grasped the bars and leaned in, her face mere inches from Narcissa's. "You made your choices, and I've made mine. The difference between you and I is that I'm willing to brave anything – persecution, Azkaban, even death – for the Dark Lord. All you care about is saving your own neck so you can go home to your sniveling brat and your coward of a husband."

"There are things more important than the Dark Lord, Bellatrix!" Narcissa retorted, outraged. "Don't you care at all? You and Rodolphus have three little girls who are going to grow up without a mother or father –"

She was cut off as Bellatrix's thin arm shot through the bars, hand wrapping around her throat. "Take it back, you little bitch," Bella hissed maliciously, her eyes flashing. She tightened her grip as Narcissa's hand snaked toward her right pocket, no doubt reaching for her wand. Her younger sister sputtered and clawed helplessly against Bellatrix's hold. "Your husband took the Mark, Narcissa; you've both tortured blood traitors in his name, don't you dare stand there and tell me the Dark Lord is not worthy of your complete submission and loyalty –"

"IMPEDIMENTA!"

There was a flash of light and a yelp of pain; Narcissa collapsed on her knees as Bellatrix released her. Gasping for air, she began to massage her aching throat, feeling something wet ooze between her fingers. Holding her hands up to her face, she saw that Bellatrix's long, sharp nails had drawn blood.

"Looks like you've lost the opportunity to share a cell, Madam Lestrange," a tall, balding Auror said sharply, his wand pointed at Bellatrix, who was huddled against fragments of the wall she'd been sitting beside moments ago. A deep gash was now present on her cheek. At least half a dozen other Aurors were behind the tall one who had cursed Bellatrix, their wands out and ready. "It'll be solitary confinement for you." He knelt down beside Narcissa. "Are you alright, Madam Malfoy?"

Narcissa allowed him to help her up. "I'm fine." She glared at Bellatrix. "I just came to see my sister, before…" she trailed off.

The Auror nodded briskly. "I understand, Madam Malfoy, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave now. The dementors are ready and waiting to transport your sister to Azkaban."

Narcissa thought she saw something like fear in Bellatrix's eyes, but the next moment she was sure she'd imagined it, for Bellatrix boldly stood and said defiantly, "The Dark Lord will liberate me when he returns –"

"Yes, yes, and reward you richly for your devotion," the Auror finished in a bored tone, narrowing his eyes at her. "We know. Get her ready," he spat at the other Aurors, who, wands raised, entered Bellatrix's cell and bound her hands. He turned to Narcissa. "Please, Madam Malfoy. It would be easier if you left."

Narcissa did not need telling again. With one last glance at Bellatrix, she headed towards the door, her heart twisting painfully, tears welling in her eyes.

"Cissy."

She stopped abruptly and composed herself; it would not do to show any more weakness in front of Bellatrix. Finally, she turned, to see the Aurors leading her sister away at wand point as Bellatrix spoke the last words Narcissa would hear from her for fifteen years.

"Make sure Andromeda doesn't get them."

It wasn't until later that night, when Narcissa was putting her infant son to sleep, that she understood Bellatrix's words.


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