Summary: After a dramatic event changes her life, Hermione breaks free from the protective magic of the Order of the Phoenix and wanders out into the darkness of the night. When her path crosses that of Bellatrix Lestrange she discovers that as well as something having died inside of her, something else has come to life. The discovery that her heart is part of Bellatrix's changes everything. Their wands are united in a magical connection unlike anything else ever seen in this world. What does it take to love those you never thought you could, but even more, what does it take to betray the ones who hold your heart? Where does love end and betrayal begin and who holds the only missing piece to a broken heart?

Disclaimer: Everything you recognise belongs to JK Rowling and also to Warner Bros. I just take their complex characters and create a dimension of my own.

Pairing: Bellatrix/Hermione to start with but there will also be Hermione/Narcissa, Hermione/Andromeda and Bellatrix/Narcissa

Rating: M for language, violence, torture and sexual scenes.

Timeline: Set just after the arrival of the Trio at The Burrow at the start of Deathly Hallows. Ignores the whole timeline from there.

Author's Note: My dear Bellamione readers, my apologies for having been away from the Potterverse for so long. I am afraid I strayed into other fandoms for a while but I have not forgotten how much this pairing and my readers mean to me. So here I am once again, returning with a tale like you have gotten to know them. It will be dark, twisted, mean and full of emotion and angst. I haven't got an exact plot for this story yet, just a minimal outline, but often the good ideas come to me as I am working on stories so I am just going to keep on writing and see what happens. I hope many of you are still around. Since I have abandoned you for so long I do not think I deserve your loyalty but it would mean the world if you guys have waited. The Potterverse was and always will be my first true home within fan fiction and it has changed a lot for me. Please enjoy the pairing that has become a part of me. The quote at the beginning is my own and describes exactly what this story is. MadameCissy's back.

Warning: The first chapter contains a rape scene (male/female). If this is a trigger for you, please make sure you are not alone when reading this or you are some place safe. I hope none of this upsets any of you. Take care of yourself, wherever and whoever you are.

Chapter 1

"The Darkness That Comes Before"

Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster,
and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

~Friedrich Nietzsche

Darkness had fallen a few hours ago, though these days it felt like the world was permanently shrouded in a blanket of shadows. Strings of mist pressed against windows and dark figures moved around, their faces obscured by dark hoods but their eyes constantly seeking their next prey. Since the rise of the Dark Lord the world as it had once been known was no more. Those with common sense did not travel alone. Small groups of witches and wizards could be seen scurrying about if they had to. Their eyes were permanently filled with fear and they all looked over their shoulder wherever they went. Danger lurked around every corner. Most of the shops in the once so popular Diagon Alley had been boarded up. Those that did not have wood covering their windows and doors had been raided and then burnt. Broken glass littered the cobbled alleyway. When night time came entire families vanished. Whether they would ever see another sunrise, no one knew. No one dared ask, let alone answer, that question.

Hermione Granger stared absentmindedly out of the cottage window. She had never been here before and though it had been her refuge for the past few hours, she did not feel comfortable. She was surrounded by people she called friends but their voices could not be further away. She looked through the darkened glass into the rapidly changing world outside. Magic protected her here, it protected all of them. It was the only thing that stood between them and certain death; magic and the ability of a person to keep a secret. Hermione had long ago learnt that most people could not be trusted. She kept her secrets to herself. It was the safest place for them to be.

She was roused from her thoughts when a gentle hand was placed on her shoulder and she looked up. Hermione blinked a few times. In the dim candle light the woman behind her startled her and she needed a few seconds to remind herself she was not being confronted by a ghost from her past. The striking resemblance to her deranged sister was something Andromeda Tonks was used to and when she saw the hesitation in Hermione's eyes she smiled. She had grown used to the fear that spread across a person's face whenever they laid eyes on her for the first time.

"Molly wondered where you'd gone," the dark haired witch smiled friendly. Hazel eyes searched Hermione's face. The dark rings under the brunette's eyes were unmistakable. The weight of the world pressed down on shoulders too young to carry the burden. Andromeda was a clever woman. Having raised Nymphadora there were very few things she missed. She had sensed Hermione's troubled mind from the moment she arrived with Molly and Ginny Weasley earlier that evening. "Is everything allright, Hermione?"

"Yes, I'm quite fine," Hermione answered as the initial fear filled adrenaline rush wore off. Her eyes darted around the small yet cosy living room of Andromeda's cottage as if she was looking for an escape. Being around the older witch made her uncomfortable but she did not want Andromeda to know. "I've got a headache and I am afraid that Molly's rambling isn't quite the cure I had in mind." She apologetically glanced at Andromeda. "The door was open…"

Andromeda smiled and her hand slipped from Hermione's shoulder. She was a mother as well as a skilled Legillimens, something that not many people knew. It was a trait she had inherited as a little girl and a trait that went back generations in her family. Both things added together made that she could sense Hermione's lie. Understanding that the young Gryffindor did not want to talk about what was troubling her she quietly nodded. "You can lie down upstairs if you want. I have a spare bedroom. You can return to the Burrow in the morning."

"Thank you but I'm sure I'll get through the last hour," Hermione answered. Her eyes drifted to the large clock on the wall. It was just after eleven o'clock. "The party's supposed to finish at midnight."

Andromeda's eyes also drifted to the window and like Hermione she gazed out into the night. "Seems strange," she mused. For a second Hermione thought she could see disapproval in the older woman's eyes. "A party during these dark times."

Hermione couldn't agree more. Not only did the idea of wedding seem completely inappropriate but the thought of a stag party was perhaps even worse. Fleur had insisted she did not want a party to celebrate her last night as a single woman and had instead chosen to spend a quiet evening with her parents and her sister. Bill was at the Burrow with all the men, drinking Firewhisky and Butterbeer. Hermione couldn't imagine anyone enjoying any form of party whilst knowing people were dying out there, in the real world, every night. She had heard Molly say there was a need for celebrations and smiles, to be reminded there were plenty of good things in the world too. Hermione thought it meaningless. All the good things died.

"There is no shame in it, you know," Andromeda said unexpectedly and her hazel eyes caught Hermione's. She looked bewildered.

"In what?"

"In admitting that whenever you look at me you see my sister," Andromeda said softly. Her voice was strangely hollow but her gaze lingered on Hermione a little longer. It was as if the words once held a meaning they had since lost. "Nymphadora told me what happened at the Ministry two years ago. It was one of the rare occasions she spoke to me about her work. She was upset. She told me how my sister killed her own cousin."

Hermione opened her words to answer but she could not think of the words. Instead her eyes wandered around the room once again and came to a rest on the fireplace. A single photo frame stood on the mantelpiece. The picture was turned towards her and in the dim candle light Hermione could make out free figures sitting around what looked like a large tree. She walked away from the window and across the room, feeling Andromeda's eyes in her back. When she reached the fireplace she picked up the frame and held it in her hands. Delicate fingers traced the yellow image behind the glass.

Three almost identical looking young women looked up into the camera. All three knelt neatly in the grass, their skirts covering their ankles. Smiles played around their lips but it was their eyes Hermione was most interested in. She stared at the woman to the right. Her face was one that Hermione would never forget and the raven black curls were a stark contrast against the woman's porcelain skin tone. A younger Bellatrix Lestrange smiled up at Hermione.

"Her eyes aren't dead in this one," Hermione said and showed Andromeda the picture. "In all the pictures I have seen her eyes are dead. But here she smiles. She is alive."

"It was a long time ago," Andromeda sadly smiled and gently took the picture from Hermione's hand. Their fingers brushed against each other and Hermione felt a warm shiver creep down her spine. Andromeda did not look at the image from her past and put the picture back on the mantelpiece. "I am unable to part with it. Not many people understand why I choose to keep it." She looked at Hermione. "Come. I'll make us some tea. Molly and Ginny will come looking for us soon."

Hermione quietly followed Andromeda out of the living room and turned around in the doorway for one last time. She looked at the picture of Bellatrix, storing the image safely in her mind. She never wanted to forget that smile. She wanted to forget what Bellatrix had done, what she had destroyed, but she wanted to remember what she had once been. A teenage girl, not much older than she was now, kneeling in the grass on a summer's day. Hermione turned her back to the photo and followed Andromeda into the kitchen. The dark haired witch was boiling the water in the kettle with a dark blue flame that illuminated the tip of her wand. Ginny and Molly sat at the kitchen table. An empty bottle of wine and two glasses stood in front of them.

"Harry just sent a message saying that everyone's gone home," Ginny said. Hermione could hear the lilt of alcohol in her voice. Barely old enough to drink Hermione wondered if Molly had let her daughter drink the wine with the idea that by tomorrow they could all be dead. Nobody was holding back on anything anymore. Time had become too precious and nothing was to be taken for granted. "We'll be going soon."

"Good," Hermione said softly as she sank down on one of the kitchen chairs and watched Andromeda from the corner of her eye. "I'm ready for bed."

"Harry said that Bill and Ron were drinking a lot. Apparently Lupin told them to take it easy but Ron tried to pick a fight," Ginny said. She leant lazily against her mother's shoulder. Molly looked tired, Hermione thought. She knew how frightened the older woman was about what lay ahead of them. Hermione shared that fear.

"What else is new? Ron is always picking fights." Hermione shrugged and with a smile she took the steaming mug of tea from Andromeda. Their eyes briefly met and Hermione realised for the first time that Andromeda's eyes were kinder and much softer, than Bellatrix's charcoal orbs had been. She held her gaze for another second before averting her eyes. She sipped the hot tea and feeling the warm liquid spread through her body took away some of her confusion.

Another half an hour later and Hermione, Ginny and Molly were standing around Andromeda's fireplace, ready to go. Hermione had insisted to go first, because she was the only one sober so she could keep an eye on Ginny and Molly making it home safe. After Apparition, the Floo Network was the quickest method of transportation but both became increasingly challenging once a witch or wizard was under the influence of alcohol.

She stepped into the green flames, took a small handful of Floo Powder and dropped it into the roaring fire. She spoke loud and clear. "The Burrow!"

Seconds later the Weasley living room came into view and Hermione stepped out of the Burrow's fireplace and brushed the fine layer of ashes and dust of her clothes. The first thing she noticed was how quiet the house was. She didn't hear a single voice. Not even a creaking floorboard. She wondered whether all the men had gone to bed. The next thing she noticed was the roaring flames behind her and she turned around just in time to see Ginny and Molly appear together, their arms linked. The two redheads stepped out of the fire and they said goodnight before going their separate ways. Hermione decided to stay downstairs for just a little while longer. There were few moments where the Burrow was actually quiet. She wanted to enjoy it while it lasted.

She sat by the fire for a while, flipping through that evenings edition of the Daily Prophet. More stories of murdered Muggles, of families moving out and of random attacks by Voldemort's Death Eaters. Pictures of wanted Death Eaters were printed on every page and Hermione felt her heart freeze when she saw the picture of Bellatrix Lestrange. It was printed next to a small article telling the gruesome tale of a young witch being tortured with the Cruciatus Curse, Bellatrix's trademark. The poor thing was in St Mungo's but the Healers were not sure whether she was going to survive her injuries.

Hermione put down the paper when she heard the front door open and close and looked up to find Ron stumbling into the living room. It was clear to see he was drunk. He bumped into the table, tripped over his shoelace and then slumped down on the sofa next to Hermione. It was as if he only then became aware of her and with glazed eyes he looked up to the brunette.

"'Mione," he said, slurring his speech. "Do you know how beautiful you are?"

"You're drunk, Ronald," Hermione said dismissively when Ron reached out to touch her arm. "Go to bed."

"But really," Ron began again. She could smell the Firewhisky on his breath. "You are…"

"Ron, stop it!" Hermione said when his fingers closed around her wrist and he tried to pull her nearer. She fought to free herself from his grip but he didn't let her go. She realised, horrified, that he was leaning in with the intention to kiss her and she placed her free hand against his chest and pushed him away. He moved backwards and then looked at her. The glazed look had been replaced by anger.

"Why won't you kiss me?" he asked. His fingers were still closed around her wrist. Even as she tried to writhe free he wasn't letting go. "Don't you love me, 'Mione?"

"No, Ron," she said. The pain in her wrist was getting worse and she sighed. "Just let me go! You're hurting me. Go to bed. You'll have forgotten about all of this in the morning."

"But I love you," Ron said and without warning he moved forward and his lips roughly collided with hers. She felt the bile rise in her stomach when she tasted the alcohol on them. He reeked. He tried to force her mouth open with his tongue and she struggled to move away from him. She lost her balance and fell backwards. His weight shifted and Ron landed on top of her. Instinctively she reached up to push him off but he was too heavy. He was no longer the skinny ginger kid from their first year at Hogwarts. Ron was a strong, muscular young man now and he was stronger than she was.

"Ron, please!" Hermione begged as his lips moved from her lips to her cheeks. She felt her body stiffen up when the hand that wasn't holding down her arm trailed up her stomach and encountered the swell of her breasts. As he squeezed she yelped and he pulled back. Hovering over her like a hungry predator about to attack its prey she saw something in his eyes she had never seen before. There was a darkness she had never expected to see.

"Oh come on, 'Mione. Harry's been saying you fancy me. How about a little snog, eh?" he grinned. It wasn't his usual grin. It was a dark, twisted and evil grin.

"No! You're hurting… Ouch! Just... Get off me!" Hermione tried to push him away again but he wasn't shifting. Instead his fingers closed around her wrist tighter and he tried to pull her up he could kiss her. When she wasn't giving in she felt him move his body weight and realised too late that he had pushed himself between her legs. She was trapped underneath him. "Ron, please… Please don't do this… You're drunk… Just…." He pressed down against her and she realised in shock that he was turned on. She could feel his erection press against her jeans. "OUCH! NO!"

Her body shut down completely when his lips found hers again. She let him kiss her. She let him touch her. She tried to move away from him but she couldn't. There was nowhere to go. She tried to slip out from under his grip but he wasn't letting to. The drunken stupor had overwhelmed him and it was about to crash down on her. She lay motionless as she felt his hands slide up under her jumper and slip behind her bra. The pinching of her nipples felt like a violation and she cried quietly as she felt him unzip his jeans before pulling down hers. Exploring fingers touched her in places where he never should have been. She bit down in one of the cushions on the sofa when his swollen manhood entered her and she allowed him to pull up her legs as he thrusted deeper into her. A low groan filled her ears as his roaming hands violated her body over and over again. The pain was overwhelming. The tears lashed against her skin and she felt her heart shatter in her chest. Something inside of her died.

She stared at the wall as the tears streamed quietly down her face. The stench of alcohol made her sick. She could taste the vomit in the back of her mouth and suppressed a gag when his fingertips brushed across her lips. With every thrust he hurt her more. She quietly begged for it to end. She wished for herself to die. All she wanted was for this to be over. For the darkness of the night to come and swallow her up, to take her away into another world full of shadows where none of this existed. She wished someone, anyone, would walk in and find them. That someone would pull him away from her. But no one came. They were alone. And she was lost. Broken. Forever torn apart.

He finished with a low moan and his lips pressed firmly onto her own. She felt him empty himself inside of her and he lay on top of her, panting, for a little while before finally moving and zipping up his jeans. He leant in to kiss her forehead and seemed untouched by the fact there were tears on her cheeks and he could taste the salt on his lips.

"I love you, 'Mione," he said as he let a brown ringlet run through his fingers. The touch could have been so easily mistaken for gentle or loving. But this was the caress of a drunk who did not know what it was he had done. Who, by dawn, would not remember the devastation he had caused. He kissed her forehead. "That was amazing."

He was unfazed by how she pulled up her jeans without looking at him and curled up into a ball when he left her on the sofa. He tripped over the coffee table as he staggered out of the room and Hermione heard his footsteps up the stairs, missing steps as he made his way up. Soon the sound died out. She was alone once more. The quietness in the living room returned and all she could hear were her own quiet sobs and the soft sound of the flames dancing their midnight dance in the fireplace.

She feared the moment dawn would break. He would not remember. She would never be able to forget.