Title: Before the Storm Author: alley_skywalker Fandom: Harry Potter Genres: Romance, drama, angst Pairings: Antonin/Bellatrix, Andromeda/Ted, Lucius/Narcissa, Rodolphus/Bellatrix, various others Summary: Wizarding Britain is on the brink of civil war. But even as the political tension rises, life continues. The Blacks are ready to marry off their three daughters. Narcissa has found a match with Lucius Malfoy, Andromeda has been promised to Rodolphus Lestrange (never mind that he loves Bellatrix) and Druella, grudgingly, acquiesce to let Bellatrix marry Antonin Dolohov if he proposes. But all these well laid plans go to pieces when Antonin is sentenced to Azkaban for killing an Auror, Andromeda elopes with Ted Tonks, and the war begins. As Bella turns to Tom Riddle for help and the Blacks frantically search for a way to preserve the family honor, choices are made that will define many fates, not the least of which are Bella?s and Antonin?s. Author's notes: This fic was written for the Het BigBang hosted on livejournal. This story is complete and will be updated regularly. Coverart is byFirefly1344. [image=http://i54.tinypic.com/2zg4rie.png] -----PROLOGUE----- Consider the world in the pause before a thunderstorm. The air goes still as clouds slowly creep across the sky, throwing shadows along treetops and across the grass. The sun still shines, teasingly bright, on one edge of the blue expanse even as the other half is swallowed up by ominous grey. The crickets sing their symphony, alone in the stillness and silence as the air thickens and the heat condenses. Somewhere in the distance, breaking through the anticipation, rolls and rumbles a wave of thunder, broiling and brawling like a hungry giant. It crawls closer as more and more of the silky blue sky is conquered by the grey mass of cloud and the electric tension of the world continues to thicken. The colors brighten, glowing neon, hypersaturated in the last rays of a surrendering sun, then darken and smoothen out as the sun disappears. In moments, the wind will begin to blow, rushing powerful gusts rustling through the foliage and sapping twigs. The lightening will flash purple across the ash-covered sky and just before the tidal wave of thunder crashes down, the rain will fall. But that is still a few moments away. In the minutes before a thunderstorm, the world is bright and clear, electrified and sharp, beautiful in its awed suspense. Waiting.