She awoke in torment. Pain gnawed at her bones and stretched her endurance until her body arched off the floor with the force of her scream.
"Silencio!" a female voice cried. "I'm not a bloody mediwitch. I'll never remember the right spells if I can't hear myself think!"
Eyelids closed tightly in anguish slowly opened to focus on the one who cast charms and imprecations with equal fervour.
"Damn that boy for stealing my wand," the witch muttered. "This one doesn't fit my hand half as well. Little bastard. The Master will make him pay."
Softened by torchlight, gaunt features held traces of beauty that struck a faint chord of recognition. She knew the woman's face, yet couldn't recall a name. The pounding behind her eyes made it too hard to concentrate. She turned her head to the side and stared at the wall, fighting nausea.
Where am I?
They were in some kind of abandoned shack. What she could see in the dim light was run-down and smelling of damp. The wallpaper was faded and peeling, the floor mottled with stains. Somehow, she knew she had been there before. She could picture its dusty rooms, yet was unable to remember what villagers called it.
Her heart jolted. They were in a village. Where? A stream of images flashed before her eyes. Cottages. Lakes. Rolling hills and heather.
Scotland! She knew the country and nothing else. Her memory wasn't a blank slate, but it was as if fog shrouded her mind. A terrible realisation dawned.
I can't remember my name.
An icy chill washed over her body. She didn't have a clue who she was or what she looked like. In vain, she tried to summon up her face—any face. Surely she had friends, family. Why couldn't she remember them? However desperately she tried, she could only "see" one face. It belonged to the woman treating her.
Panic set in. You're healing my body, but what about my memory?
"There," the witch said. "I've done the best I can. You may speak now."
The assured tone didn't match the wary expression. Did the witch fear her spells hadn't repaired whatever damage had been done?
"Someone hurt me." The words could have been those of a child, but the voice was that of a woman.
Oh, Merlin, I don't even know how old I am!
Cool fingertips brushed her cheek. "Give me a name, and they will pay."
"I—I don't know!" Tears scalded the corners of her eyes. "I don't remember anything!"
The witch pushed to her feet and looked away. "My poor child. I was too late."
On the floor, the "poor child" made the effort to sit up. Her muscles felt stiff, but the crippling pain was gone. She stretched out a hand and grabbed the hem of her rescuer's robes. "Who am I?"
"You are of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black." The witch dropped to her knees and reached out. "Do you truly not know who you are or who I am?"
There was a connection between them, deep and visceral. "Are you my mother?"
The hands gripping her shoulders tightened. "Yes! You are my only child, Terebellum." The witch smiled a little. "Born twenty five years ago, named after a star like me, Bellatrix."
Bellatrix is the name of the Amazon star.
A man had told her that. What man? What was his name? The thought gave rise to another one more troubling. "I don't feel like a Terebellum."
"You never did prefer your full name." Thin lips curved. "You always asked to be called Tere."
"Tere," she whispered, sounding out the name. "Just Tere." That sounded better, less stuffy.
"It means the shining one. Fitting for a Metamorphmagus."
"I'm a Metamorphmagus?" The woman still adjusting to the name Tere looked down at her right hand and concentrated. She gasped when it changed from pale-skinned to brown. Amazed, yet feeling the rightness, she asked, "Are you Metamorphmagus too?"
"No, but your son is."
My son. It was one thing to forget her own name, but how could she have forgotten her baby? She searched Bellatrix's face. "He's a baby, isn't he? Not a toddler, not an older child. I can't really remember him, but I know he's a baby."
"You have partial memories. That's . . . wonderful."
"You don't sound happy," Tere said. "Why not?" Suspicion pricked with sharp claws. "What are you hiding from me? Where is my baby?" Her eyes dropped to the ring on her left hand. She was immediately gripped by terror so great, she couldn't bear not knowing. "Where is my husband?"
"Orionis is safe, but Severus—" Bellatrix pointed.
Tere crawled across the room toward the body lying in a pool of blood. The wizard's eyes were open, dark and staring. His face was hauntingly familiar. She didn't remember if they had loved each other; it didn't matter. He was her husband. Anger and loss made her stomach clench. She had to shove a fist into her mouth to keep from crying out.
"Like your father Rodolphus, Severus Snape gave his life in battle."
Snatches of images flashed before Tere's eyes. People screamed. Wizards duelled in flashes of red and green. "Battle...I was fighting a battle...."
"It was a ruse," Bellatrix said harshly. "You fell into the enemy's trap. They planned to wipe your memories and use your powers—and your son's—for themselves."
"My son?" Fear clutched her heart. "You said Ori was safe. Where is he?"
"You called him Ori. That's good, very good."
If Bellatrix hoped she was regaining her whole memory, she wasn't. It just felt natural to shorten her son's name. Tere surged to her feet. "Why did I leave him?" What kind of mother risked making her child an orphan?
"Our enemies—the Order—lured you here by threatening to kill your husband and then come for you and your son. When you sent your Patronus to me, I cast a tracing spell as quickly as I could." Head bowed, Bellatrix said, "I realised too late that the person you were visiting, who conveniently delivered the note and offered to keep Orionis, was the one who manufactured it." Her voice hardened. "My sister Andromeda."
Suddenly, Bellatrix clasped a hand over the inside of her wrist. "No! My lord cannot call me so soon!" Her eyes were wild. "It's too early. I need more time!"
Bellatrix—she didn't seem the type of parent that wanted to be called mother—pushed back the sleeve of her robe. The brand of a skull and snake appeared to writhe upon pallid skin. "Do you recognise this? Your husband was proud to bear it. It is the Dark Mark, given to those honoured by Lord Voldemort."
The Dark Lord. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Tere looked down at her forearm.
"No," Bellatrix said. "You have not yet been granted a place within the inner circle. You serve in other ways."
Tere glanced away to hide her relief. Disloyal as it might be, the name of Voldemort evoked nothing but revulsion.
Bellatrix moved closer. "I cannot delay my return to the Master's side much longer. Listen carefully. You must retrieve Orionis and wait for me at a safe house until the battle is over. I will use a Memory Charm to fix the directions—guide your way—if you are unafraid to open your mind."
"I want my son," Tere said fiercely. "I'm not afraid of anything."
Heavy-lidded eyes gleamed. "Of course you aren't. You're a true Black." Tentatively, as though gestures of affection were uncommon for her, Bellatrix pressed a kiss to Tere's cheek.
One hour later...
It was maddening, the continual sense of deja vu. Tere didn't remember the house with its backdrop of tidy English gardens, and yet felt she had been there many times before.
She heeded Bellatrix's advice and used counter-wards instead of blasting her way in. She could hex her traitorous auntie another time. The only thing that mattered now was rescuing her son.
A/N: To (mis)quote a dashing dread pirate named Westley: Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is make a writer go AU! Special Thanks and Happy Birthday to MollyCoddles for her feedback and her inspiring story Web Weaving.
As the summary implies, this is an alternate ending romantic suspense story, although I stick to canon as closely as possible aside from their survival. Dark Angel isn't an official part of my Remus and Tonks Blue Moon series, so reading the other stories isn't necessary, although I'll be thrilled if anyone is inspired to go read . . . or reread. :D
I discovered the stars in most constellations don't have names that roll trippingly from the tongue (or the keyboard), so I was glad to find Terebellum "just Tere" for Tonks, and found it interesting that the name for Lambda Orionis, originally used for Gamma Gemini, was mistakenly applied to Orionis—and stuck. It made me think Bellatrix would know the history and take great pleasure in deliberately giving Tonks wrong names as she plotted to gain two "stars" for the House of Black—and her beloved Master.
This is a prologue; the rest of the chapters will have both Tonks and Remus' pov's. I hope readers will look forward to it, and let me know in a review. :)