A/N: Well hello all! This is my first attempt at writing fan fiction, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and have been reading fan fiction for sometime now. I have to give a shout out to Abraxan who hooked me on reading fan fiction with her Refiners Fire stories. This will be an AU story so in other words some slight and some major deviations from canon. I guess I should add in here that I own nothing of the Harry Potter universe and can only bask in the glory which is JK Rowling. I hope you enjoy this first chapter.
Chapter 1: The Rescue
Anxious lavender eyes kept close watch over an immaculate front lawn of a house that in her opinion had no character whatsoever; and looked just like every other bloody house in this Merlin forsaken muggle neighborhood. But what made this house of particular interest was one of its occupants, a raven haired boy of about sixteen.
Though this was no ordinary boy; this boy was a wizard, a wizard who had been clandestinely hidden from the rest of the magical world, to keep him from people who meant him harm, people who would stop at nothing to torture, maim and kill him, people like her at least that's what most of the magical community believed.
To the magical community at large; Bellatrix LeStrange was a fanatically loyal follower of the Dark Lord Voldemort and along with her infamous cousin Sirius Black, the same Sirius Black who was the right hand of He-Who-must-not-be-named, the same Sirius Black who had betrayed his friends the Potters to the Dark Lord and the same Sirius Black who had killed another friend Peter Pettigrew along with 13 muggles in broad day light in the heart of London, they were the epitome of evil.
To make matters worse the two cousins had escaped the wizard prison of Azkaban almost three years ago, a feat thought impossible. Rumors of sightings of the pair were almost a daily occurrence from being seen night clubbing in Ibiza to jack-a-lope hunting in the American West.
The latest rumor about the mass murder Black was that he was killed by ministry officials in a failed attack on the Department of Mysteries and where a dozen other suspected Death Eaters from the last war were also killed or taken into custody, the juiciest part of the rumor was that Harry Potter The Boy Who Lived was also there and had killed Black himself thus avenging the deaths of his parents, and then there was the most spectacular rumor of all; that the Dark Lord himself was there as well and had dueled with The Boy who Lived and the great Albus Dumbledore before fleeing the Ministry in humiliating defeat.
She shook her head in morbid fascination, sorrow and regret as she thought about the recent events that lead her here of all places. She had known that Sirius had gone to the Ministry to save his godson she had wanted to go herself but Sirius was adamant about her not going.
She was still on the ministry's most wanted list and Ministry Aurors had a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later and he was also worried about her running into her ex-husband Rudolfous LeStrange and the psychological effect it could have on her. But, with what little information she had gleaned from the Daily Prophet was that her ex-husband Rudolphus LeStrange had been one of the casualties in the DOM. At last she was freed from the man who had made her life hell, a man who had to use spell and potion to keep her under his control.
Although she had been young she had skills that his master could use, she was a dueling prodigy her moves were as graceful as any prima ballerina, it was rumored that she was part seer, somehow knowing her opponents moves before they did anticipating every counter every faint… she was deadly.
Two weeks had passed since the DOM fiasco and Bella waited patiently for Harry Potter to return to Privet Drive. There was much to talk to him about and much more to do. She worried slightly about approaching Harry, not really concerned for her own safety but more for the mental state the boy might be in. Sirius had spoken privately to Harry many times about Bella and her circumstances.
She had on Sirius' request watched over him on several occasions over the years but always remained hidden in her animagus form; a beautiful Peregrine Falcon. Over time she had developed a fondness for Harry and a deep admiration as he handled more adversity and strife than anyone his age should ever have to put up with.
She had witnessed how most of Harry's classmates had turned against him after his name came out of the Goblet of Fire even his so called best friends turned their proverbial backs on him. She watched in terrified silence as he took on a Horntail and sighed in exasperated relief has he completed the task with minimal injuries.
She gasped in terror as she witnessed him portkeyed away at the end of the final task and abject fear over take her as she felt the burning call of her former master from the Dark Mark still on her left arm. She apparated to the graveyard but a distance from the other Death Eaters, she quickly disillusioned herself and keeping to the shadows moved closer to the group.
Silent tears of anguish fell as she watched young Harry endure the torturous attention of the Dark Lord, to be then turned to stares of awe as a dome encircled the two combatants and the ghostly appearance of several people including Harry's parents seemed to appear from the Dark Lords wand.
She silently cast a wide confundus charm on the confused Death Eaters and watched as their spells went wide of their mark as Harry managed to escape from the battle of wills with the Dark Lord retrieved the body of Cedric Diggory and then summoning the Tri-Wizard cup to be returned to the grounds of Hogwarts.
She was stunned in disbelief when she heard that Cornelius Fudge refused to believe Harry that Voldemort had returned. She watched helplessly as Harry was sent back to THOSE people who were the worst sort of people imaginable. She knew that Harry needed to be comforted and reassured that everything would be alright after his traumatic ordeal, and the Dursleys definitely did not possess the slightest bit of human kindness let alone the desire to help the boy.
Bella took it upon herself to at least watch over Harry, many nights she would perch herself on the branch of a tree just outside his bedroom window. She could see the guilt and anguish build up within him during the lonely hours of the day, and then manifest itself at night through horrible nightmares.
On as many nights as she could she would fly in through the open window to his bedroom, then transforming back into her normal self would gently sit next to him on his bed and with the softest touch stroke his unruly hair and hum an old Welsh lullaby that her father use to sing to her. She found it had a soothing effect on Harry, and it also brought some comfort to her as well as it reminded her of simpler and happier times from her own youth. She would always leave before he woke, and returned to her own home to sleep or update Sirius on Harry's condition.
Sirius confided in Bella his reservations about Dumbledore, it just seemed that Albus had an unhealthy determination to control every aspect of Harry's life, something just felt wrong about the Leader of the Lights motivations when it came to his godson and he was determined to find out Dumbledore's true agenda if it was the last thing he'd do.
The remainder of Harry's summer between his fourth and fifth year were quiet if not a bit frustrating for Harry. There had been no new news on Voldemort and his friends had not written to him, according to Sirius; Dumbledore had ordered a communication blackout in regards to Harry. Harry had taken the silence as another betrayal from his once thought of best friends.
Bella was furious with herself for not being there on the day that two dementors attacked her Harry and his fat cousin, and vowed to herself not to let anything like that happen again… ever! And how the hell did two dementors find their way to Little Whinging! Something was definitely wrong here and Bella would find out somehow.
Sirius kept Bella informed on the goings on at Grimauld Place; she was stunned that Harry had been forced to go to trial in front of the entire Wizengamot merely for defending himself and his whale of a cousin from those soul sucking monstrosities, no not from those political yay-whos in the Wizengamot but those actual soul sucking demons called dementors.
During Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts, Bella was there as often as she could to watch over Harry, she began to worry if she was just doing this because Sirius had asked her to or was she doing it because she felt some kind of deeper emotional attachment toward Harry.
And if that was the case what was the attachment, was it a feeling a mother has for a son, or a feeling of closeness between friends, or was it something more. Bella definitely did not want to think about the "something more" he was fifteen for goodness sake! Bella had decided just to put the whole thing in the back of her mind.
What she did know was that Sirius loved the boy as if he were his own son, and that made him family, and the Blacks were all about family; so she would look after and defend Harry where she could because where Harry was concerned above anything else she may feel or not feel about him, he was family and that was enough.
Bella made a habit of flying to the window sill of the Gryffindor fifth year dorm room to check on Harry and on occasion when she found the window open she would flutter over to Harry's bed to watch over him as he slept .
She noticed that his nightmares seemed to be increasing and becoming more intense and on those times she would cast a quick silencing spell around Harry's four poster bed she then would return to her normal form and hold him against herself and gently rock him and hum that old Welsh tune until he calmed and returned to a normal sleep.
On one of those evenings as she rocked him back to sleep she noticed the cuts on his right hand, furious that someone was torturing her Harry, a possessiveness she had never felt before rose in her chest as she imagined horrible ways to punish the perpetrator.
With a gentle probe of legilimency she viewed Harry's surface memories, what she found revolted and angered her, not only was that ministry cow Umbridge torturing her Harry but Snape was literally mind raping him under the guise of teaching him occlumency and all under the knowing gaze of Dumbledore. This. Would. Not. Stand! Oh yes…yes she would have her vengeance upon those who would harm her family!
With the Christmas Hols and the attack on Arthur Weasley at the Ministry, Harry and the rest of the Weasleys along with the Granger girl were all staying at Grimauld Place. This kept her visits with Sirius few and far between. She realized quite to her own dismay that she missed being able to check in on Harry as much as she had been, there was just too much traffic at the Headquarters of the Order of the Blazing Chicken for her to chance a visit.
Bella had become worried about Harry as Sirius mentioned that Harry had seemed to withdraw into himself and avoided contact with those in the house; he even took one of the third floor bedrooms to isolate himself more from his friends. Sirius had attempted to speak with him on several occasions only to be told by Harry that he would be fine he just need some time to himself.
A few nights before the end of the Hols, Bella decided to risk coming to the house and check up on Harry. Of course she told herself that it was just for her peace of mind that she wanted to know if he was okay, and not for some "other" reason.
Bella flew in her falcon form to the window of Harry's room on the third floor. Luck was with her as the window had been cracked open. She squeezed through the window after noting that Harry seemed to be asleep but in the middle of what appeared to be one of his more terrifying nightmares.
She transformed back into her human self and gently sat on Harry's bed and with practiced ease slid into the bed next to him taking him into her arms to comfort him. As always she began to hum the same familiar Welsh lullaby and began to gently rock Harry back and forth.
Harry groggily awoke to a familiar scent of spice and sandalwood, a scent that he had become very familiar with. He associated that scent with warmth, safety,…love ' if I knew what love felt like' Harry mused to himself. He had been noticing this scent for over a year now but none of the people he knew wore or had this scent but nevertheless those feelings it provoked always calmed him down.
It was accompanied by the tune he as now hearing and the angelic voice that intoned it, it had become as familiar to him now as breathing. But these sounds and scents were from his dreams…weren't they?
As his mind began to swim more into focus he could feel the gentle vibrations of a very warm and very feminine body humming that wonderful tune and holding him close. Was this a dream? It feels so real, he could feel the slow intake of air of the person and his head rise slightly as lungs expanded and then gently fall as air was slowly released. These sounds, scents and …gulp soft parts… they were just from his dreams…weren't they?
Suddenly Harry realized that he in fact was not dreaming and that he was actually hearing the tune and inhaling the scent and feeling the warmth of the woman who apparently was real and holding him close!
Even with this realization he did not panic, somehow he knew that this person meant him no harm after all if she was real then all those other times he heard the voice felt the touch and breathed in that wonderful scent it must have been her every time, and if she meant him harm she would have done something by now...right?
But who is she?
Bella was so lost in the feeling of holding Harry again and humming her father's Welsh lullaby that she did not notice the change in Harry's breathing. Holding Harry had in away become a balm to her own tormented soul, she felt more peace and clarity of mind when she was holding him than at any other time. She did not know why he affected her so but she knew she did not want it to stop, something about him made her fell…made her feel…whole.
"Who are you?" A soft voice whispered up from her chest.
Bella froze, her mind went blank, then like the flood gates opening up and spilling into a dry river bed, a thousand thoughts and emotions came flooding through all at once it was chaos and she struggled to grab hold of some thought, any thought that would be the life line to pull her out of her current predicament. One thought popped out of her inundated mind…Flee!
She tried to move but her body was not responding to the panicked cries of her mind. She was about to try again when green eyes found violet and she froze a second time. There was no anger or fear in those emerald pools that looked back at her, but warmth and understandably a little confusion.
"Bella. " She found her voice but it came out a little too high and squeaky. "I'm Bella…" she spoke once more, this time with a little more control of her voice but still a bundle of nerves.
"Your Sirius' cousin, aren't you? The one he's told me about". Harry asked. She nodded not quite trusting herself to speak.
"It's been you all this time hasn't it, the singing the feeling of someone holding me and the scent of spice and sandalwood, it's been you all along."
Bella looked deeply into his eyes searching for something but not knowing exactly what she was looking for, he had asked an honest question, maybe she should just give an honest answer.
"Yes. Yes Harry it has always been me. I'm sorry…" she began but was cut off by Harry.
"Thank you Bella." Harry whispered in a soft and sincere voice. "I thought you were a dream, and whenever you were near, your scent, your voice, and your warmth always brought me comfort it drove the nightmares away."
Bella's eyes moistened and her voice hitched a bit as she responded "mine to Harry…my nightmares to."
"Shhh… Harry, go back to sleep, no more questions tonight. We'll talk another day."
"Will you stay…with me? It's just that I sleep better…" Harry timidly began.
"yes Harry I'll stay with you till morning, but I can't be found here by the others, our secret then?"
"Yeah, thank you Bella" Bella gently smiled back at Harry who snuggled into her side like it was the most natural thing to do. Within minutes the unlikely pair had both drifted off to sleep.
The sun was beginning to set on Privet Drive and Bella knew that the Dursleys should be arriving soon with Harry. She had not been able to see him after the events in the DOM, and she was extremely worried about how he was handling everything. She knew what a blow it was for him to lose Sirius for she was feeling the loss as well.
Sirius was much more than just a cousin to her, he was like a caring and sweet older brother. If it had not been for Sirius, Azkaban would have destroyed her. They kept each other sane, he had been a rock for here as she went through the ghastly withdrawals of the compulsion potion that she had been forced to drink regularly throughout her marriage to Rudolphus, and she had been there for him as he struggled with the guilt of his friends death and his unintentional abandonment of their son and his godson.
Although Bella was two years behind Sirius and the other Marauders at Hogwarts and in another house, Sirius always made time to visit with her and Narcissa who was in the same year as Sirius but with her in Slytherin her other Sister Andromeda was the oldest of the three Black sisters and was five years older than Cissy.
Andromeda had already left Hogwarts the year before Bella had started and was engaged to a muggleborn wizard named Tonks. It caused a scandal within the family which caused her father to initiate those accursed marriage contracts for her and Narcissa to keep the rest of the Black blood with proper pureblood families.
Had she known then the nightmare her life would have become she may have followed Andi's example and ran off with someone else, anyone would have been better than her blood supremist ex, may he burn!
Since her escape from Azkaban with Sirius she had been in sporadic contact with Narcissa and although she was married to that cloak kissing son of a house elf Malfoy, Narcissa helped out Bella where she could, she was the one that informed Bella of a small but little known Black manor in Wales where she would be safe it was spelled so that only those of Black blood would be able to find it. It was small but comfortable.
Narcissa had helped nurse her back to health, gave her many restorative drafts to help abate all the damage the years of malnutrition had wreaked upon her. Before marrying Malfoy, Narcissa was well on her way to becoming a healer, she had a natural gift and was apprenticing under Madam Pomfrey during her last two years at Hogwarts.
Of course Malfoy refused to let her continue stating that such menial employment was beneath the station of a Malfoy. Narcissa however continued to read anything she could find on the latest healing practices, she was a potions mistress and would brew her own remedies and practice making all the new and improved potions related to healing, it was a passion that she would not let Lucius take away from her.
Bella was reluctant to contact Andromeda, she was not sure how her big sister would react; did she believe the Prophet or would she give Bella the benefit of the doubt and let her explain herself.
Andromeda had become a successful lawyer both in the muggle and magical world, and new the law inside and out, maybe if she could convince her to listen to her story she might find away to help her. For the moment it was a risk she was too afraid to make, but hoped she could reconcile with her one day soon. After all the Blacks are about family.
Bella's musing were cut short as she saw the lights of an approaching car, she quickly made sure her disillusionment spell was still active and watched as the Dursleys pulled into their driveway. The whole right side of the vehicle seemed to bounce up as the whale of a man exited the car, Bella wondered how the man actually was able to move lugging around that much weight, soon the rest of the Dursleys exited the car and entered the house.
Harry slowly exited the car looking as if the whole weight of the world was on his shoulders, Bella's arms ached to reach out and hold him to tell him that she was there for him, maybe she would get a chance tonight, if that idiot drunk Mundungus was on duty it was almost a guarantee that she would be able to, he never seemed to hang around for very long anyways or he would be passed out reeking of some foul concoction he had been drinking.
Harry had just closed the door of his Uncle's car and had turned to walk toward the house when with surprising speed for a man his size Vernon had grabbed Harry by the throat and was holding him pinned to the side of the car whispering something in his ear. Bella, almost on instinct began moving quickly to Harry but stopped as she saw that Vernon had let him go and was now stalking into the house with harry right behind him.
"That bastard… that worthless piece of muggle filth!" How dare he do that to her Harry, why was Dumbledore forcing Harry to stay here!
"I can't just sit back and let this happen to him, not after all he has been through this year, not after losing Siri… "Her hand flew to her mouth as she gulped hard and the tears threatened to fall once more.
Bella slowly shook her head and came to a hard decision; screw the so called blood wards, I'm getting him out of there tonight, Dumbledore and his order be damned. Sirius was no longer there to protect Harry from Dumbledore's manipulations but she would even if she had the whole Order of the Flaming Chicken after her, she would protect Harry this she swore.
AN2: well here was the first chapter, hoped you liked it! Please review any constructive criticism is welcome. I'll try and update at least every two weeks.