I groaned painfully as I sat up, blinking fiercely to try and stabilise my surroundings. Like I had surroundings. I knew I was in trouble, that much was obvious. The last thing I remembered before blacking out was Draco Malfoy’s smirking face. Now, I was faced with pitch black, nothing else. I struggled against the ropes that held me, but it was useless. I was bound fast, with no hope of escaping. I tried to take in as much knowledge about my position as I could but there wasn’t a lot to tell about it. I was tied to the floor by ropes that were bound across my body, seemingly growing out of the floor. I swore loudly, rolling and squirming but knowing it would make absolutely no difference. I gave up struggling and lay back. The floor beneath me was hard and cold, giving me no comfort whatsoever. I blinked again, somehow hoping that any form of light would come to me. It didn’t oblige. I felt my chest pound and only then realised how weary and in pain I was. My chest felt like it had been obliterated and my back was numb. God knows how long I had been lying on the floor before I had woken up, or indeed how Malfoy had knocked me out in the first place. What did he intend to do with me?
My thoughtful silence was at last interrupted as I heard a door open, and a flicker of light trickled into my vision. I gasped and sat up as far as I could, the small slash of orange a glimmer of hope inside me. Then, the flicker became a flood, as light washed over me, taking that glimmer of hope with it as it was devastated by the sight of four hooded men entering the room. I struggled harder but it was pointless, they released the ropes the second they were all inside the now well-lit room. Not that there was anything to see, it was just a white, four walled room. Boring, white, four walled, exactly the way the Death Eaters wanted me to feel. I glared fiercely and went to attack the closest one, but before I could move, he spoke.
“You’re going to be a good girl for us, aren’t you Lucy?”
Something about his voice made my blood run cold. I nodded meekly, hating myself for giving in so easily, but knowing it was really the only way to survive this ordeal. I shot each of the four a steely glare but kept my mouth shut and my feet firmly planted where they were.
“What do you want with me?” I asked, annoyed by the shudder that had crept into my voice.
“Leverage,” snarled a burly man to my left. “You are the cousin of Harry Potter and you have knowledge. Tell us what you know about the Order of the Phoenix and the Ministry.”
“And if I don’t?” I asked bravely. Big mistake.
“Crucio!” a jerky, harsh other voice screeched, raising his wand as he did so. I screamed. Never, ever let anybody tell you that the Cruciatus Curse isn’t painful because it is. It is, without any doubt, the single most painful thing I have ever experienced. The pain reached every single corner of my body and carried on for what seemed like forever, never letting up as it mercilessly bit, scratched and tore at every fibre of my existence. I screamed and I screamed. Then it was over.
“Care to play along with us now?” a vicious voice asked.
“Go. To. Hell.”
“As you wish. Cruc-“
“Stop! We can’t risk pushing her over the edge!” one of the men, whose voice I recognised as Malfoy’s hissed. “We need to use her as a bargaining chip and she’s useless if you flog her within an inch of her life.”
“Malfoy’s right, for once,” another man snarled. “Give her some time to recover before we Crucio her again.”
“Fine then, but she’s getting it when we get back!” he growled, before storming out the room, closely followed by the others. Before they left, they turned off the lights and tied me to the floor again, leaving me in exactly the same position as before, only this time, with any sort of fight beaten out of me…
I lay there for a while, waiting. Part of me knew the others would be looking for me, but I knew they wouldn’t find me easily. It could be days, even weeks before they did find me. Should I tell the Movement what I knew? No I couldn’t, it was wrong. They could destroy the Order. But the pain…Could I go through that again? Should I go through that again? In order to protect the Order? Was it worth it? I lay back, knowing I had no idea what I would do when they returned. Would I be strong and resist them, even facing the terrible pain that I did? Or would I be a coward? Pathetic? Would I give in to the pain and tell them everything that they needed to know? Honestly, it was a huge few hours there, lying back, the internal battle that was going on inside me raged, my natural instinct to go against pain was battling fiercely against my loyalty to the people I cared about.
Then, with me still completely unsure as to what I should do, the door flew open. But the men didn’t seem as composed, as ready. There were only two of them and they were hurrying, swiftly removing my ropes and dragging me to my feet. But this time, I’d made a decision. I wasn’t going to take it. I lashed out, kicking the man holding me and charging for the door. Whatever thoughts of escape I had were only buoyed by the sounds of swearing and spells outside the room. I headed for the door, only to be hit from behind with a full body bind. I wanted to scream as the man grabbed me and muttered something about leaving. I could feel him start to apparate and I wanted to lash out and struggle, but I couldn’t. Then, I saw figures appear in the doorway and, suddenly, I was free…
I rolled away from the man, who flailed after me. I stood and, before whoever was behind me could fire a spell, I punched him, clean in the face. His partner had already been stunned by the other person. I spun round and found myself being enveloped by Tom. I kissed hard and long, not wanting the moment to end. I held Tom close, he was the only thing I wanted. I didn’t want anyone else. He had saved me from certain pain or betrayal, the toughest decision of my life, and one I had never made or had to make. But he wasn’t alone. As Kate coughed, we broke apart, blushing fiercely. Kate threw me my wand and I shot her a questioning look.
“Got it off Malfoy when I disarmed me,” she explained. “Bastard was damn hard to beat with two wands but Tom got him with a nasty little jinx. There’s about half a dozen of the unconscious bastards lying around and we’ve sent a message to the Ministry, who are coming to clean up this mess.”
“Good,” I replied, relieved. “Where are the others?”
“They’re checking out other Movement strongholds, looking for you,” Tom explained. “We all had to split up, I just hope they’re okay.”
My heart jumped. How many people had gone out of their way to save me? How many of them were still alive? How many were okay? I could see their faces flashing before my eyes and I began to feel weak. Tom acted on instinct and steadied me, concern flashing onto his face.
“You alright Luce?” he asked, putting his hands on my shoulders and examining my face.
“Yeah, fine, just take me home,” I muttered, pushing him off and turning to Kate.
My initial thoughts as we landed were of the others, and how their expeditions got on. As I burst through the front door to my home, I quickly did a head count to see who was back. As soon as the door was open, and my parents mobbed me, pulling me into hugs and kisses like I was suddenly a little girl again. I had never seen my mum so stressed, her hair was ragged and her face pale, her bright blue eyes missing their spark. I knew Dad wouldn’t appear as bothered, but he was clearly visibly shaken, which worried me.
“It’s okay mum, dad, I’m fine,” I whispered as they tried to choke me with their asphyxiating hugs.
“We were so worried about you,” Dad said, his voice shaky. “Don’t ever do that to us again!”
“What, get kidnapped?” I laughed, tears flowing down my cheeks.
Dad laughed and finally let me breathe. My heart fell. The only other people back were Ginny and Neville.
“Where are the others?” I asked, my voice throbbing.
“Hermione got captured,” Ginny wheezed, struggling with tears. “We haven’t heard from Harry and Ron or your sister and her fiancé.”
“Fuck,” I hissed, grateful that both my parents let it slide. I was more grateful for Tom’s warm touch on my ice-cold skin as he enveloped me in a hug again. The sound of apparation alerted me and I tore out into the front garden, the others just behind me. The sight I saw made my blood run cold. No amount of hugs from Tom would make me feel any better. Amy and James landed awkwardly, her clearly supporting him. James looked half dead, barely able to stand and his arms weren’t moving, his eyes a cold pit of empty. Amy looked a touch more alive, using all her strength to support her fiancé as she trudged towards them. They were both covered in blood. I screamed and ran forwards, helping Amy as Tom took over on James’ other side. We helped them into the house, where my parents flipped. Literally flipped. I helped Amy to a chair as Tom laid James out on the sofa.
“I’m fine, just exhausted,” Amy said breathlessly before I could say anything. “We were duelling, my shield failed and he got hit by like five curses. I buckled, grabbed him and apparated the fuck out of there. All of this blood is his. I’m so glad you’re okay though.”
“Don’t worry about me,” I soothed. “I’m fine. Few bumps and bruises but I’ll live.”
“You look a mess, sis, not to mention that huge mark on your chest where your shirt’s been burned away,” Amy replied. I looked down and sure enough, there was a huge welt on my lower chest and my top barely covered my breasts. I winced as I absorbed and then turned to James. The look on Dad’s face as I looked over said it all.
“I’m taking him to St Mungo’s,” he announced, grabbing James and lifting him up. “The rest of you stay here, wait for Harry, Ron and the Ministry.”
“I’m coming too,” Amy growled, grabbing our father’s arm. He didn’t complain and they turned, slipping into nothing.
From there, it became a straightforward waiting game. The Ministry were busy cleaning up whatever mess we had left behind, which was a fair few Death Eaters. Meanwhile, we had heard nothing from Harry and Ron, who were still nowhere to be seen. I felt both awful and relieved at the same time. On the one hand, my parents, my sister, Tom, they had all got out alive and pretty much unscathed. On the other hand, James was practically family; he’d been around for ages. And Harry and Ron could still be in trouble, and they had become two of the most important people in my life over the last few months. I didn’t know what I’d do without them. My life had become so absurd, so insane and Harry Potter had become a huge part of it, I don’t know what I’d do without him. Ginny, on the other hand, was in a lot worse of a position than I was, and was being comforted by Neville and Kate, as I sat with Tom, thinking. Ginny had lost her best friend and possibly her boyfriend and brother, all in one go. The Golden Trio. Gone, vanished, disappeared. What could we do without them?
We received a patronus from Kingsley Shacklebolt, informing us that the majority of the Movement had been tracked down and eradicated, with those still fighting thrown in Azkaban. It was good news, but still we heard nothing of Harry or Ron, not to mention how James was doing. He had paid the price for being a hero, for trying to save me. Who else would follow in his footsteps?
And then, the sound of apparation filled our ears. We were all on our feet in an instant, Ginny by far the quickest to reach the door and barrel it open. By the time I’d reached the door, she’d already reached Ron, who was standing with a tall ginger fellow who looked like his father. Almost certainly was his father. As Ginny reached him, I could see her face fall and I knew it wasn’t good news. I stepped back as Ron turned to me and as he approached, I didn’t want to hear what he had to say. His face was deathly pale and he was shaking his head sadly, trying to attract me with his eyes but I wasn’t budging.
“Lucy,” Ron said as he reached me. “I’m really sorry. It was my fault. I…smashed something, they heard me and…”
“Ron,” I stammered. “Where’s Harry?”
“They took him…” Ron replied shaken. “Bloody hell, the Movement have got Harry.”
I stood there, shock overwhelming me. And then I moved forward and hugged Ron, who, like me, couldn’t quite believe what was happening…
A/N: Hey there guys, hows about that for a cliffhanger? ;) Sorry, I know you're all eager to see what happens to Harry and Hermione, not to mention James (LP2 lovers out there especially), so I'll put the next chapter up immediately. Please please please leave a review :) HP
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