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 Harry’s confirmed kidnapping hit Ginny like a freight train. She didn’t stop sobbing for over an hour, during which Ron filled us in on what had happened and introduced us to his family. It felt weird having a large group of Weasleys’ in our home, but I wasn’t complaining; we could use all the support we could get. The rest of the Weasleys stayed with Ron, Kate, Ginny and Neville whilst my mother looked over them all in the main living room, leaving me and Tom to slip away to my bedroom. It was the first time he had seen it and if I was honest, I wished it had happened under better circumstances. Neither of us really felt up for anything, so we just sat there, using each other as comfort.

“I really thought I’d lost you,” Tom whispered and I looked at him, concern clear in both our eyes.

“Yeah, me too,” I replied sadly. “I just hope Harry and James are okay.”

“And Hermione,” Tom reminded me.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “The worst thing is, in there, being crucioed, I had no idea whether I was going to crack and tell them everything I knew. I’d never see you again and I’d have betrayed you all or died screaming.”

“But you didn’t,” Tom insisted. “You’re here now, you’re safe. You and me, nothing can get in our way anymore, you know? We’re here now and the Movement are decimated. They can’t hurt us anymore. You know that.”

I nodded. Tom’s words refused to sink in, no matter how much sense they made. I couldn’t possibly face the idea that things would be okay; not with Harry and Hermione missing and James fighting for his life. The Ministry could do their best, but there would always be lunatics and with them, there was always the possibility of people dying. Tom and I could never truly be safe. I kissed him softly, grateful he was there with me. Tom kissed me back and we lay back on my bed, the company of each other much more important than any sexual act that neither of us was going to perform…

“Lucy? Lucy?”

I groaned and my brain flickered. Someone was trying to wake me up. They sounded panicked, like it was urgent. I groaned and rolled over, determined to ignore whoever was ruining my slumber. As I rolled, I felt myself crash into a warm body and smiled smugly. Tom was still with me. I loved the feel of his warm body as I woke up and I loved the smell of his aftershave and…

My dreams were brought crashing down to earth as my big sister shook me awake. I flipped her off, before realising who it was and sitting up. Lying next to me, Tom was still asleep. I pushed my fringe out of my eyes and shot Amy a questioning look.

“Hey sis, what’s up?” I whispered, careful not to wake Tom.

“Don’t worry about being quiet, I cast a silencing charm, we won’t wake him up,” she smiled. She looked ragged, tired and beaten. I hated seeing my big sister in such a state. “So this is the Tom Stone I’ve heard so much about eh?”

“Yeah, he’s amazing,” I replied, unable to prevent a huge smile erupting on my face. “You were right, everything’s been great since I told him how I felt! Well, apart from the whole, kidnapping thing of course…”

Amy chuckled slightly but it was half-hearted. I knew she was weary and she flopped down on my other side. I was shocked to see a few tears roll down her pearly white cheeks and she ran her hands through her blonde locks agitatedly. I closed my eyes in frustration, and then asked the question I’d been dreading the answer to.

“How is he?” I asked tenderly.

“The Healer said he’s and I quote: ‘Stable, but critical’. In other words, he’s not about to die but he’s not getting any better. He was hit by about five curses, some of which did serious internal damage. They’ve had to pull out every counter curse in the book but they think they’ve stopped the spells doing any more harm. The problem is the damage they’ve already done. Some of it could be tough to repair.”

“But they’re healers,” I replied gently. “They’ll sort him out.”

“Lucy,” her voice was shaky but firm. “He was hit by some seriously dark magic, it’s not just a case of waving a magic wand and he’ll get better.”

Well, it was…but I could see her point. James was in a bad way by the sounds of it and thus, so was she. I could tell exactly what she was thinking and I didn’t like it one bit.

“It wasn’t your fault,” I whispered.

“Wasn’t it?” she hissed. “I let my guard down, my shield faltered. It’s entirely my fault Lucy. People will always tell you not to blame yourself but it was my fault. I almost killed my fiancé and no amount of petting and shifting blame can make that okay again.”

I hugged her tightly, stroking her hair gently and wiping her tears. I hated seeing Amy so vulnerable. She was my role model, my big sis and it pained me that she was hurt. I stood and pulled her away from the bed.

“Is Dad with James?” I asked.

“They both are,” Amy explained. “Mum and Dad I mean. I didn’t want to leave him but I needed a minute I guess. I’m going to go see him again now. Maybe he’ll be awake. All your friends have left, either back to Hogwarts or home. They said if you wanted to see them, floo to some place called the Burrow. I’ll leave you and Tom to whatever it was you were up to.”

“We didn’t…I mean…it’s just not the time,” I flushed.

“I know Luce, I know.”

Tom and I were alone in the house alone as Amy left again. Part of me wanted to go and see James but I knew it wouldn’t be fair on Tom who was still asleep. Personally, I felt a lot better. Almost all the physical aches and pains from the Cruciatus had gone, but they had left their marks I suppose. There was still a huge bruise stretching across my stomach and emotionally, I still felt a touch drained, although I was feeling a lot better after some sleep. The half hour or so between Amy’s departure and Tom waking up was blissful. I lay beside him, allowing his warmth and love to emanate through to me. It was only once he was up did it occur to us that we’d spent the night together in my bed. We both waved it off, pointing to the circumstances and the fact we didn’t seal the deal.

We made breakfast and ate in silence. It was difficult; on the one hand, we were both eager to enjoy each other’s company but at the same time, we were weighed down by the knowledge that James was severely injured and Harry and Hermione still missing. In the end, Tom decided to head back to Hogwarts to check on Kate and Neville whilst I went to St Mungo’s to check on James. It wasn’t a fun experience. I entered the cold, white room, Amy sitting by James’ side, her hand on his chest. Apparently mum and dad were out getting butterbeer. I looked at James for about a minute then felt nauseous. His stomach had been left open to cleanse it of the spells and it wasn’t a pretty sight, though the Healers had removed the smell. They told me that he’d either be awake and talking or dead within 24 hours. Whilst they were frank with me, I was glad they were. Although it was clearly harder for Amy than it was for me (I’d never seen her so depressed), I felt the Healers would do everything they could and it was an encouraging thought.

My stay in St Mungo’s proved short and sweet. My parents stayed, mainly for the struggling Amy’s benefit but I couldn’t take it. McGonagall had said I could take as much time as I needed off from Hogwarts but now I wanted nothing more than to return than to the great castle, with its warm, encouraging atmosphere. But it wouldn’t be the same without Harry, Ron and Hermione. Ron and Ginny hadn’t gone back according to Tom, who had owled me when he’d got there. They were out, still looking for Harry. The day dragged on. My dad returned home briefly, saying that he’d spoken to Kingsley and around 10 members of the Movement were still unaccounted for, including Malfoy, and he reckoned they were holed up somewhere with Harry and Hermione.

My other visitor, later in the evening, was Ron. He was tired and, as far as I could tell, desperate. I invited him in and we sat and talked. He’d been leading the search for Harry and Hermione but so far, even with the help of his family and the Ministry, they had had no luck in locating either of them, or any Death Eaters for that matter.

“We haven’t the foggiest,” Ron admitted as I made him a cup of tea. “We’ve searched every single death eater stronghold we can think of and we’ve had fuck all success. It’s like they’ve vanished.”

“Is there the possibility that they’ve left the country?” I suggested. “Headed into mainland Europe or further abroad?”

“If they have, it’s game over,” Ron muttered, his face decidedly paling as I said this. I realised it probably hadn’t been the best thing to say to someone whose best friend and girlfriend were missing.

“I’m sure you can put out feelers to other Ministries,” I said, knowing it was too late to take it back.

“The problem we’re having, is that it’s not obvious where they could have gone. And this time, there’s no suggestions. Before they were organised, prepared. And organisation leaves traces. Ideas, papers, things they did to put their plan into action. Now, they’re desperate. And desperate often leaves no traces.”

“But it also makes them careless,” I said. “They’ll make a mistake. You’ll see. They need to come up for air sooner or later. They have to realise that there’s not many of them left and even with Harry and Hermione they’re at a huge disadvantage.”

Ron thought hard. “But even if they do, that’s no guarantee that nothing bad will happen to Hermione and Harry in the meantime. I mean, the sooner we get them out of there, the better. It’s so frustrating to know they could be right under our noses and we wouldn’t even know it.”

And then it twigged. Something Ron had said just clocked in my mind and all the cogs fell into place. It made sense, and right now it was as good a shot as any to finding the other two thirds of the Golden Trio.

“Ron…say that again.”

“Right under our noses?”

“Exactly,” I muttered, thinking hard. “Okay so they’re in a hurry, a desperate hurry. And you’re Malfoy. They will obviously have had to think of a backup plan in advance. Somewhere that’s quiet, out of the way, close to Hogwarts obviously and has been used as a hiding place in the past. By the Dark Lord himself in fact if memory serves correctly.”

Ron just looked at me dimwittedly. I groaned and decided to try again.

“Where would you hide Ron?”

“The Burrow,” he replied instantly. I rolled my eyes and whacked him round the side of the head.

“Use your brain for Merlin’s sake,” I implored.

“No, I don’t know,” Ron shook his head.

“Come on, I’ll explain when we get there,” I sighed, grabbing his hand and apparating away.

We landed at Hogsmeade and I considered my options. Before we headed to my hunch, I wanted some backup. McGonagall could help this time, and obviously Tom, Ginny, Kate and Neville would contribute.

“Send a patronus to your sister,” I instructed. “Have her floo to McGonagall’s office in around ten minutes, we’ll meet her there.”

I strode on ahead, swiftly finding a carriage and as Ron entered behind me, we headed off towards the castle as quickly as we could, Ron urging the Thestral to hurry.

“So where is this place?” Ron asked, still confused.

“Bear with me,” I murmured, focusing on a small ball of energy I was working on with my wand. I then sent it whizzing off ahead of us. It was similar to a patronus and would find the window to Gryffindor Tower and inform Kate, Nev and Tom where we were.

We reached the castle and Tom was waiting for us, engulfing me in a giant hug and a kiss. Ron cleared his throat and I blushed, dragging the two boys along with me as I headed for McGonagall’s office. Kate and Neville were waiting for us outside the statue.

“Hey Luce, are you alright?” Neville asked anxiously as I approached.

“Yeah I’m fine thanks Nev,” I grinned, hugging him and Kate in turn. “Sorry to disappear on you like that.”

“You couldn’t exactly help it,” he smiled. “So, what are we doing here?”

“I think I know where Harry and Hermione are,” I announced, as the statue opened up for us. We headed up the spiral staircase and into the office, where Ginny was just climbing out of the fireplace.

“So Miss Hunt,” McGonagall turned to me as we entered. “I’m glad to see you’re okay.”

“Yes thank you Professor,” I smiled. “And I want to help.”

“Help? By that I presume you mean try to find Mr Potter and Miss Granger?” she asked. “The minister informed me they were missing.”

“Yes,” I nodded. “I think I have an idea where they might be.”

“And that is?” she demanded.

“Well,” I paused briefly. “You know the tunnel behind the Whomping Willow…”

A/N: Well, another chapter right in the thick of it. Only two chapters left now :( But feel free to read any of the other stories in the Lost Potters series. And please please leave me a review. Who is your favourite character? What do you want to happen? What do you think will happen? Any thoughts on the book as a whole? And which has been your favourite book in the series so far? (For me it's still the first one). HP

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