20/3/2016: Woah! Finally finished another round of "Let's Check Out That Good Ol' Fic And Fix It". Most of the grammatical errors should be gone, but if you find any, please let me know. As for the story itself - it's essentially still the same, I'd only tried to polish it up with a few extra sentences here and there ;)

Oh! And one very, very important thing: this was originally written more than three years ago. Some things had changed since then in the fanfiction world, but let me just say this: contrary to the popular opinion, songfic isn't dead.

I wish you a pleasant reading experience! ^_^

This is the end

Hold your breath and count to ten

Feel the Earth move and then

Hear my heart burst again

For this is the end

For the fourteen years I'd spent in this hellhole at the end of the world, only the memories of him kept me alive. Or as alive as one can claim to be in the depths of Azkaban.

I knew with the utmost certainty that some stupid little baby couldn't kill him, even though people proclaimed it loudly on the streets. Not him, the greatest of wizards, the darkest of lords.

Even in my darkest moments, when dementors swarmed outside of my cell, the walls of my cell frosting over, I simply allowed my mind to slip beneath the surface of sanity and started laughing, laughing in spite of the world that tried to destroy me times and times over.

The silent guardians of Azkaban took extra care to suck out all hope, all happiness, all that was nice and beautiful and precious -but without the power of their kiss, they couldn't take away my soul, my deepest beliefs, my strongest feelings.

I didn't have to feel joyous to know they were there. No-one could do anything about my love for the Dark Lord, just like no-one could do anything about the rising and the setting of the sun.

Nothing could extinguish the flame of passion, burning deep inside of me.

Not even time.

And when the prison seemed too dark, too terrible, too cold, I hid in the safety of my mind and revelled in one particular memory over and over.

It was Halloween 1981, early evening, and my Lord had just dismissed the meeting. The air was still buzzing understandable excitement - the Dark Lord was going to kill the Potter boy tonight, thus getting rid of a potential future obstacle. As much as I disliked Snape, I had to admit he had quite the stroke of luck in overhearing the prophecy.

(He was still a greasy slimeball, though.)

The Dark Lord had to be feeling benevolent tonight, because he didn't object to the chatter around him and just watched the elite of his followers thin out as people Disapparated throughout the room.

Finally, only me and the Dark Lord remained.

(How thrilling would it be to be able to call him by his true name?)

He sat still in his chair, like a king, his wand twirling between his long, pale fingers. I was quiet, standing just outside the light of the candles, which had now dimmed despite burning brightly a few minutes ago. I enjoyed the chance to observe him on his own, without the distractions of the meeting. It made me feel like he was a rare piece of art, a hidden treasure I needed to protect from privy eyes, a gem I alone could admire.

(Silly, silly me.)

After a while, he lifted his head, seeming to realize I was still there. Even in the semi-darkness enticing the room, it still felt like his scarlet eyes were piercing my very soul.

"What are you still doing here, Bella?"

Thank goodness, he was in a good mood. It would had been Bellatrix if he wasn't. The nickname (pronounced, as I told myself deep inside my head, with a hint of affection) he used gave me the courage to say aloud what I'd been pondering over for quite some time. Ever since we heard of the prophecy and he decided on his next steps, actually.

"My Lord, are you sure there's no other way?"

"Other way?" he repeated slowly, tilting his head a bit.

I took a deep breath and decided to jump straight in. He wouldn't kill me, I was sure of that. What his reaction would actually be, though, I had no idea.

"It's just...I have a bad feeling about tonight. I know it sounds stupid," I added hastily, seeing his eyes harden, "and I know you're perfectly able to take down one family by yourself, but it feels like something's not right. I definitely don't trust that little rat Pettigrew," I said with a grimace of disgust. "I'd simply feel better if you at least took someone with you..."

My voice slowly trailed off.

I expected that he'd Crucio me for my words, like he did to some newbie a week ago for asking if it's really so important if some random baby lives or dies, but instead he seated himself more comfortably in his chair, a smirk dancing around his lips, and asked: "And since when are you so...caring, dear Bella?"

I lowered my head, staring at the polished surface of the table, not knowing what to say. What would be the truth?

Since the moment I looked into your eyes?

Since the moment you honoured me with the Dark Mark?

Since the night I started dreaming about you?

It was tempting, dangerously tempting, to present my feelings freely, to hold my head high, to look into his eyes and to proclaim my love.

But as always, I decided for the half-truth.

"You're my Lord. I don't want you to," I didn't want to use the word die, because that wouldn't be right, "get hurt."

I hoped that it'd be enough for him, that he wouldn't decide to use Legilimency on me. Yes, he was aware of my affection - after all, everyone was. But no-one, not even Cissy, knew the true extent of it.

I could protect my deepest secrets quite well, but with that smile of his? I wasn't so sure if I'd be fast enough to block him. I was too distracted.

Suddenly, he wasn't in his chair anymore. Instead he stood in front of me,

(tall and dark and oh Merlin so handsome)

scarlet eyes staring at me. While his tone was seemingly gentle, I could hear the dangerous edge:
"Really? Is that so? Or is it something...else? What do you think, Bella?"

I kept my gaze directed at the table, not brave - or foolish - enough to look on him.

"You're my Lord," I repeated. "I merely feel concern for your well-being, that's all."

"We both know that's not quite true, don't we?"

He started to circle around me, fixing me with his eyes like he was the proverbial snake and I his prey.

Well, like I mentioned, my feelings weren't exactly a national secret, but I'd always assumed he'd keep pretending nothing like my desires existed.

This was getting dangerously out of hand.

But at least I was still standing and not screaming in pain on the floor.

For the second time this evening, I took a deep breath.

"It doesn't matter how I feel, my Lord. You know it doesn't interfere with what I do as a Death Eater."

I had to cut this short, otherwise there was no telling where the conversation would end up. With all the willpower I could muster, I raised my head and looked straight into his eyes.

"Can you promise me that you will come back, my Lord? Please?"

The Dark Lord stared at me as if pondering whether to answer or not.

Then he chuckled a little, not his usual, cruel laugh used to taunt his enemies, but a soft sound, completely out of character for him.

He lifted my chin with his pale fingers and leaned closer.

"I promise," he whispered. A shiver ran down my spine.

I've drowned and dreamt this moment

So overdue I owe them

Swept away I'm stolen

I don't know which one of us started it, if it was done on purpose or impulsive.

But suddenly, we were kissing passionately, his lips soft and...tasting like chocolate?

The microscopic part of my brain that wasn't completely focused at the situation started to wonder whether he had a sweet tooth.

(Shut up, Trixie. Kiss. Now. Him!)

It was like a drug, a drug you get hooked on after the first try.

I enjoyed reading my mother's books when I was younger, the ones she kept hidden in a secret stash at the back of her wardrobe, but I always felt like the heroines were highly exaggerating their feelings during the heated moments.

I didn't count on this.

There was fire in my veins, his hands somehow snaked their way into my hair, mine ended up gripping the front of his robes, and even if Dumbledore and the whole Order appeared all of a sudden, even if the sky began to fall right now, nothing could separate us.

Let the sky fall

When it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all together

Let the sky fall

When it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all togehter

At skyfall

At skyfall

After what seemed like eternity, it ended.

Did I mention kissing him was like a drug? Well, I wanted more. I wanted more before this dreamy, surreal situation came to an abrupt end.

Me, trying to find my breath, him, looking at me, a strange light sparkling in his scarlet eyes.

"I promise," he repeated. And I believed it.

(Well, I just got kissed by the Dark Lord himself, I would probably believe anything.)

It wasn't like I had a choice - not when his hands rested on my hips, not when I could still feel the heat of his body.

For a split second, he looked as though he was unsure what to do, as though he was torn between going and staying. But then he stepped back, his usual cold expression sliding back in place, and , swirling on the spot, he Disapparated.

And I stood there, body shaking like I just received electricity shock, the taste of chocolate still on my lips.

After he disappeared, seemingly defeated or worse, I, for the lack of a better word, went crazy.

Rodolphus and Rabastan, along with the young Crouch, accompanied me on my search for the Dark Lord, but it was more because of their worry of what I might do on my own than of a desire to find our master and to get revenge on those who dared to oppose him.

I got to the Longbottoms. I was so, so sure they were the correct piece of the puzzle! They were Aurors, Dumbledore liked them, they were bound to have more information than the others!

They did not.

With every Crucio I threw at them I felt my anger and despair rising.

My companions tried to get me to stop, to leave, but I was too enraged to listen.

But nothing had changed, no tall figure stepped out of the shadows, no red eyes flickered in amusement.

A fleet of Aurors arrived, wands at the ready, and only then did I finally let the man and the woman drop to the floor, blank looks in their eyes, their hair whitening because of the sheer force I put into the spell.

Rabastan getting hit was like a bucket of cold water.

If I wanted to see my Lord again, I had to change the way I played the game.

I would be of no use to him dead.

Somehow, we managed to convince the Aurors we were indeed wishing to stop the fighting and were giving up our wands. For once, I was glad the leader of the squad was no other than Alastor Moody. He liked to bring his prisoners in alive.

(Slytherin 101, Chapter 2: Weaknesses of your enemies and the exploitation of those)

Still, I refused to let go of my beliefs.

Even when I sat in the courtroom, the heavy chains circling my wrists, even when the Aurors took me to Azkaban, I knew that I only had to wait.

He'd return one day.

He promised.

Every few years, Narcissa, Lucius and Draco came to visit me in my dark, cold cell. It usually lasted about ten minutes, not longer - after all, I was one of the most dangerous prisoners. I saw the pain in Cissy's eyes, Draco's wary expression, I listened to Lucius' whispers when they left, whispers about my insanity and crazy beliefs in His return.

Traitor, I murmured as I traced the faded outline of the Dark Mark on my forearm.

Aurors, healers, great wizards, they'd all tried to convince me that my Lord was dead, that he would not, could not come back. Eventually, they gave up.

I had a name and a number on my cell, like a wild animal, and they treated me like one.

And still, I knew that he'd come back.

He'd promised.

Skyfall is where we start

A thousand miles and poles apart

Where worlds collide and days are dark

You may have my number

You can take my name

But you'll never have my heart

And then, finally, the Mark began to stand out more visibly against my pale skin.

I waited for almost a year for any sign of his return, the hope I felt growing stronger with each darker shade of the skull-and-snake tattoo.

And then, one night, it suddenly burned black, the familiar pain in my forearm bringing a grin to my face.

Oh, how I wanted to Apparate to him, to stand proudly by his side!

Yet I waited patiently, for I knew he wouldn't forget about me. He couldn't. Not me, not his most loyal, most faithful follower.

For more than half a year, I'd felt the Mark burn occasionally and I'd always imagined how the meeting would go, what he would say, who would be there.

And then, in the darkness of a cold winter night, I was awoken by the sound of a loud explosion somewhere nearby. The walls of my cell shook with it. Then another one broke the calm of the night, this time closer.

I got up from the thing I mockingly called my bed. The once so familiar feeling of adrenaline rushing through my body returned, sharpening all my senses. Happiness, true happines, buried deep inside my mind because of the Dementors, was itching to break free and float to the surface.

Speaking of those soul-sucking sacks - I'd expect them to be gathering outside of my cell right now, like they did every time they sensed the slightest happy thought emitting from me. Instead there was no frost, no depression, nothing.

(Did it mean what I thought it meant?)

With a deafening noise, the wall separating me from the world outside blew up.

I barely managed to duck as the debris went flying everywhere and the air filled with dust. I was bound to get hit by something, so I covered my head and waited for the inevitable impact - but it didn't come. The stone fragments froze in midair several feet away from me and fell to the floor.

I stood up, absent-mindedly sweeping away some of the dust from my prison rags. My heart was beating frantically as I saw a tall figure standing at the edge of the hole in the wall, its outline growing sharper as the air cleared.

"Lumos," said the velvety voice I knew so well, making my heart clench.

And as a ball of light flew from the tip of his wand to the ceiling and illuminated the cell, I finally saw the Dark Lord in all his glory.

Unreadable scarlet eyes, pale skin, long, slender fingers.

Even if a thousand dementors tried to bring me down, they'd all fail.

Because he came back.

To me.

Let the sky fall

When it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all together

Let the sky fall

When it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all together

At skyfall

I coughed, trying to clear my suddenly tight throat.

"I knew you'd come back, my Lord. I'd never stopped believing," I half-croaked, my voice harsh.

(No surprise there. I had been using it mainly for yelling this past decade, after all.)

"Of course I came back," he said, the familiar smirk sliding back into place. "I promised, didn't I?"

Where you go I go

What you see I see

I know I'd never be me

Without the security

Of your loving arms

Keeping me from harm

Put your hand in my hand

And we'll stand

He offered me his hand and I took it, gripping it perhaps too tightly to ensure this was all real and not just a vivid dream.

I was suddenly aware of my appearance, aware of the mess on my head I once called hair, aware of my hollow cheeks.

But the Dark Lord didn't say anything concering my looks.

He just watched me, the smirk turning into a full smile.

(I might had been grinning like a kid who'd just received a puppy on Christmas Day.)

Without as much as a warning, he pulled me closer, putting an arm around my waist, causing my heart to beat so fast I half-expected it to jump out of my chest.

(It's normal for one's knees to be on the brink of buckling after so many years spent in terrible conditions. No other reason, Professor Trixie.)

"We'll Apparate to Malfoy Manor. Your sister will take care of you. Is that alright with you?"

Alright, this was a very vivid dream. Had to be. Why else would he ask me about my opinion?

"O-of course, my Lord. Anything," I quickly responded.

He tilted his head to side as if pondering something. Then he reached inside his robes and pulled something out.
"I thought you'd like to have it back," he said and placed it into my hand.

I couldn't believe my eyes. My wand!

I bowed lightly, holding back tears of gratitude.

"Thank you, my Lord," I said. Standing this close to him, I basked in his presence, in the fact that his attention was focused solely on me.

And yet...

Would it remain that way? Or would I have return to my dreams and fantasies, to the world where I was married to a friend because the society demanded it, so close and yet so far away from the man I loved?

But there was that kiss. It meant something. Change, even.

So I was going to hold on to hope.

(Silly, silly me.)

He pulled me to the edge of the floor and I saw the world outside again after such a long time.
I suddenly realized how cold I was, but the feeling of fresh air on my face was worth it.

There were figures on brooms everywhere, dementors flying around like ravens. I realized that nearly half of the Azkaban roof was gone, leaving the triangle-shaped prison looking like an old cake, bitten off and forgotten. On the horizon, there was a hint of the dawn light and I felt like a newborn.

I looked at the Dark Lord, standing beside me, and felt another grin forming on my face. I was free and with him - and what more could I wish for?

Let the sky fall

When it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all togehter

Let the sky fall

When it crumbles

We will stand tall

And face it all together

At skyfall

He turned to me, encircling my waist with both his arms. With my hands on his chest, I felt a strange sense of dejà-vu.

"Ready?" He asked, a hint of another smile dancing in the corner of his lips.

(Did they still taste like chocolate?)

"Maybe you'll get the chance to know some day," he whispered into my ear and I suddenly realized that I had my Occlumency shields down.

But he didn't seem to care. I felt the steady beating of his heart under the palm of my hand and a wave of certainty came over me.

No matter what, I'll always stand by his side.

And maybe, one day, we will stand together.

After all, I was his most faithful, most loyal.

His Bella.

Let the sky fall

We will stand tall

At skyfall