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In the Hands of the Death Eaters

Severus woke to the feeling of cotton being stuffed into his mouth, and he swallowed and tried to spit out the gag that had been stuck there. It was no use, the gag was tight against his face, stretching his skin uncomfortably, and he had almost no saliva left since the cloth had absorbed it. He stirred, testing his arms and legs. He found that his hands were bound but his legs were free. Slowly, he turned his head.

He found he was lying on an old mattress of some kind, it smelled rank and it was stained with God-knows-what. The old springs poked him through the thin covering, and Severus shifted, trying to make himself a bit more comfortable. He saw a sleeping Sirius on his right side and next to him was Lily, similarly gagged and bound. Great! They got all of us! He thought angrily, struggling against his bonds.

But they were tight and he couldn't get enough leverage to get them off. He flopped back against the mattress and thought about what to do now. Obviously whoever had taken them wanted something, since all kidnappers had a goal in mind. The trick was to figure out what these particular people, Severus knew there had been more than one, wanted. Of course, it would help if he knew just who had captured him.

He thought back to the time of the kidnap, trying to recall what his abductors looked like. He had been playing with Lily, and so hadn't paid too much attention until they came out of the trees. He'd gotten an impression of tall people, with dark gray robes, and . . . had some of them been wearing masks?

That was a dead giveaway and marked them as Death Eaters. Severus nearly groaned aloud. Bloody hell! This was all he needed, being kidnapped by his former associates. He had thought, from the way Harry, Draco, and even Dora talked, that the Death Eater Inner Circle had all been rounded up and put in Azkaban years ago, before his rebirth. Could some have escaped? Or could these be remnants of the first group? Severus knew that just because Voldemort had gone to hell didn't mean his doctrine had ceased to exist. Like Hitler and his Nazis, prejudice was an insidious disease, and it struck everyone, irrespective of class, race, or gender. It could be possible these were the offshoot of the second round of Death Eaters (there had been two), and they were trying to follow in the footsteps of their deceased master and comrades. It wouldn't be the first time.

Evil never dies, it just assumes a new form, he reminded himself. He twisted on his side, wishing like hell he were not a child, that he could command his formidable powers again. Hell, even a tenth of that power would be useful right now. He sighed bitterly. He wasn't used to being helpless, or waiting for someone to rescue him. Always before, he had done his own rescuing. He looked over at Lily. Dearest Merlin, don't let them hurt her. I couldn't stand that. Anything but that. Even before, when I was an agent, I never had to endure that.

He shuddered as awful images cascaded through his mind of Lily being beaten, tortured, and other horrible things. He knew what the Death Eaters were capable of. The faces might have changed, but their basic nature would be the same. Hatred towards Muggles, Muggleborns, and half-bloods. And any excuse to cause pain. He was unsure exactly why they had been captured, because as far as he knew, no one was aware that they had been UnVeiled. But what if someone had found out? The records were sealed in the Department of Mysteries, but seals could be broken, and what if that had occurred?

No sense in borrowing trouble, Severus, he reminded himself. After all, Harry, Remus, and even Draco were regarded as enemies by the Death Eaters, so taking their children would have been a delightful coup towards getting their own back. It could be that reason they were here. Severus prayed it were so. Otherwise . . . no, he would not go there. Not now.

He squirmed and tried unsuccessfully to sleep. But it was no use. He sat up, working again at his hands, which were tied with some kind of cord. He glared at the material and thought about it loosening. He concentrated hard, willing his magic to act.

Finally, it did, by loosening the cord enough for him to get his hands out. Then he pulled off the gag and breathed a sharp sigh of relief. But using his magic, even the little he'd done, always cost him, and soon he fell into a half-sleep.

About ten minutes later he was awakened out of his half-doze by Sirius sitting up next to him. He began making desperate noises. Severus freed him from his gag and untied his hands, then did the same for Lily, who was still asleep.

"Ugh . . . what happened, Severus?"

"We got kidnapped."

"Kidnapped! By who?"

"Death Eaters, I think."

Sirius' eyes grew wide. "No way! I thought they were all dead or locked up."

Severus snorted. "Seems like some either broke out or there are some new followers around."

"Where are we?"

"I have no idea. Someplace secret. I woke up a little before you."

Sirius squirmed too. "Looks like the back end of beyond. What do we do?"

"We wait. Right now, it's all we can do."

"I hate waiting," Sirius grumbled. Suddenly he hissed, "Oh, no! I . . . I need the loo."

Severus looked at him. "There isn't one here. And you don't want to attract their attention, believe me."

"But . . . I gotta go!" Sirius whimpered.

Severus looked about. "Go over there and use the floor." There was nothing else in the room, not even a chair.

"Okay." Sirius blushed and scrambled off the bed. He couldn't believe this was happening. He quickly undid his jeans and used the wall, wincing at how disgusting this was. But what choice did he have?

Finishing, he climbed back on the mattress. At least Lily wasn't awake to witness his humiliation. That was one good thing. He looked over at the door. "Do you think it's locked?"

"Of course! They might be evil, but they're not stupid," Severus said. "Unless you want to go try it?"

Sirius nodded, then went to try and open the plain wooden door.

As he had feared, it was shut tight. "Aww, hells!" He grumbled and went back to sit down. "I wish we had our magic all the time. But it never seems to come when we want it."

"I used mine to get these ropes and gags off," Severus admitted.

"You did? Can you do the door too?"

"No. I'm . . . tired," he said, ashamed. "I'm not . . . my magic's not what it used to be, Black."

"I know. Because we're kids," sighed Sirius. He remained quiet for a moment. Then he said, "What do you think they'll do to us?"

"I don't know."

"You don't?"

"No. What do you think, because I was an agent, I know automatically what they'll do?" Severus snapped. "I don't. Back then, we followed Voldemort's orders. Whatever he told us to do, we did. But now . . . now they don't have that. They can do . . . whatever they want."

"That's scary . . ."

"Yes. Best not to think too much about it. Otherwise we'll be too scared to move."

Sirius swallowed. "I hate being locked up. What if they recognize us, Snape?"

Severus shook his head. Was Black just being obtuse because he was scared? "How would they do that, Sirius? We're children, we're supposed to be dead these nine years, remember? We look nothing like our adult selves."

"But . . . what if they know? About us?" Sirius whispered.

"Then . . . we're in trouble," Severus said grimly. "But chances are they don't. How would they find out?"

"I don't know. I hope they didn't."

Just then Lily woke up. "Sev? What's going on here?"

He came and took her hand. "Don't be scared, Lily. We're in a bit of a tight spot, but we'll be all right."

She glanced around. "Why are we in this stuffy room?" She sniffed and held her nose. "It smells gross in here, Sev. Where are our parents?"

"Uh, Lily . . . they're not here," Sirius said. "I guess they're back by the campsite . . . looking for us."

"And where's here?"

"We don't know," Severus said. "Let me fill you in." He explained about the kidnapping, who it might be, and their fears and worries if they were found out to be UnVeiled.

"Sev . . . I . . . remember . . . a long time ago . . . I heard they . . . tortured people." Lily said. "People like me . . . Muggleborns." She looked like she were about to cry.

"Yes, sometimes. But I won't let that happen to you!" he said fiercely.

"How you gonna prevent that, hero?" Sirius asked sarcastically.

Severus glared at him. "I'll find a way."

"Maybe if we . . . tell them what they want to know they'll leave us alone," Lily said nervously. She snuggled up closer to Sirius and Severus.

"Maybe we shouldn't worry about this right now," Severus suggested gently. "Let's think about something else."

"Like how bad Moony's going to tear up these blokes?" Sirius suggested.

"Yes. And Harry will be right next to him. Along with Ginny," Severus said, satisfaction in his tone.

"My dad and grandpa will be too. They'll make those Death Eaters wish they were never born," Lily declared, her green eyes bright with hope.

The three children huddled together, for warmth and for courage, all the while hoping someone would find them and rescue them before it was too late.

Meanwhile, their captors ate, drank, and fell asleep, not in a hurry to interrogate their small captives just yet.


The Burrow:

Ginny fed Indigo her lunch, careful to make sure the baby burped before giving her more formula. Her baby had a sensitive stomach and luckily Harry, together with Severus, had managed to make a potion to soothe her colicky tummy. Otherwise Ginny feared she'd have gone insane. Not that she had been any too patient with the boys lately.

She felt her face heat as she gently patted Indi's back. Yesterday, Molly had brought up the subject of Ginny's moon swings, explaining that she had suffered through a phase just like that after Percy was born. "My Healer said it was all due to an imbalance of hormones and gave me a few potions and taught me some relaxation techniques when I felt like I was going to fly off the handle after Bill or Charlie did something stupid. They helped."

"What are you saying, Mum?"

"I'm saying you ought to let a Healer evaluate you, hon."

"But I'm not sick! I'm just . . . crabby."

"Harry's told me some of the ways you reacted when you were crabby, dear," Molly said, putting a hand on her arm. "It's getting worse, not better. Won't you at least talk to me?"

"I . . . I feel so . . . angry sometimes, Mum. Angry and upset and . . . overwhelmed," Ginny admitted sadly. "I know I shouldn't feel like that. Indi's not a terrible baby, and Alby and Sevvy are usually well-behaved, but lately . . . I don't know. Harry's always busy and it just seems like we never get to spend time together anymore. And there's always something going on, Mum. I feel so . . . wrung out and I don't know why."

"I do. You're suffering from a bit of nasty hormone changes, dear. It happens to a lot of women after they've had a baby."

"It didn't happen with Alby."

"Every birth is different. Take it from me. No one knows that better." Molly smiled. "It's nothing to be ashamed of, Gin. Would you please promise me to make an appointment with the Healer? If it's not that, maybe he can suggest something else to try, but if it is . . ."

Ginny thought about how rotten she had been feeling lately. She didn't like feeling like that. She didn't like Harry thinking she wasn't a good parent. She felt all confused, like she had when she was possessed by the diary back in first year. She never wanted to feel so out of control or helpless again. Yet here she was, a prisoner of her emotions.

She rocked Indigo back and forth, inhaling the sweet scent of her honey vanilla baby lotion. She adored her small daughter as much as she did her sons. She didn't want to be known as the wicked mother—or in Sevvy's case, the wicked stepmother! Perhaps Molly was right and she did need some help. She cringed admitting that fact, but she couldn't deny it. She hated the way she seemed so angry lately, snapping at everyone, longing to hex something. That wasn't who she was.

She looked at Indigo's sleeping face and thought of the way things used to be. When she was happy. Maybe Mum was right, and she should see a Healer. At least he or she would be able to tell her what was the matter.

She continued rocking Indigo in the old Weasley family rocker until she was sure the baby was deeply asleep. Then she rose and put her in the small cot, another Weasley family heirloom. She had just finished tucking the blanket up over her precious baby when Harry rushed into the room.

"Harry! You're back early," she exclaimed, moving over towards the door. "Shh! Indi's asleep. Did you have a good time camping?" she kissed him lightly.

Harry gently took his wife by the arm and they moved into the hallway. His face was grave as he said, "Gin, I have some bad news. Severus, Sirius, and Lily were kidnapped. They haven't left a ransom note yet, but we think they're Death Eaters from Nev's description."

Ginny almost fainted. "Death Eaters! But . . . how . . . how did they find you?"

"I don't know. All I know is that they came out of the trees and grabbed the kid and Apparated off before Neville could stop them." Harry said, his eyes gleaming. "But I swear, Ginny, we'll find them and bring them home. We'll find them, or I'm not the slayer of Voldemort!"

There was such determination in his voice that Ginny felt a cold chill go down her spine. An instant later she hugged him tight and felt tears splash down her face. She couldn't help it, she wanted to be strong, but she was terrified something might happen to the children. Especially Severus. And if something did happen, how would she ever forgive herself for being so harsh with the boy?

A/N: What do you think will happen now?

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