Sofia awoke feeling like a sledge hammer was being pounded into her head. As she reached up she felt the sensation of something wet and sticky. Looking at her fingers she realised that it was blood. Once her eyes started to focus and her brain kicked in, memories of the previous night came flooding back to her.
'She looked up and saw that she was in the Forbidden Forest. She hadn't even realised that she had ran this far but eager to get out of there she turned around ready to run back to the castle. However, she was met with a body much larger than hers and as she looked up she saw a face that she had never wanted to see for the rest of her life. The cold black eyes of Rodolphos Lestrange were staring down at her.
"Not leaving so soon are you Miss Granger, or should I say Zabini?", he smiled.
It was the most sinister smile she had ever seen and it shook her to the bone. She was not going to let him know that though.
"What are you doing here? You're meant to be in Azkaban".
"Ah, it's amazing what loyal 'friends' are willing to do for me. Taking my place in Azkaban was a very, noble, thing to do. All for the greater cause though", he drawled.
"And what greater cause is that?".
"Revenge!", he exclaimed with a mad glint in his eyes.
Before Sofia even had chance to reach for her wand, her body froze and she fell to the floor.
"Oh am I going to have some fun with you", Lestrange snarled as he kicked her in the head and her world went black'.
Staring at her surroundings she realised, with no uncertainty, that she had been kidnapped by none other than Rodolphos Lestrange. It was clear that he had got somebody to take his place in Azkaban somehow and now he wanted revenge for what she, Harry and Ron had done to his precious 'Dark Lord'. Despite the pounding in her head she got up to survey her surroundings. She was in a small, dark room. The black and green wallpaper was torn and peeling and the room stank of damp. The rotting wooden floorboards creeked as they moved and the sound of the door opening made her freeze on the spot.
"Ah, awake already I see. Master Lestrange will see you now".
Sofia couldn't believe it. There in front of her was Fenrir Greyback. He was meant to be dead.
"You're not seeing ghosts", he growled "but you may be one yourself, very very soon".
He then lunged at Sofia and wrestled her to the ground. The weight of his body was so overwhelming that she didn't really stand much of a chance.
"Mmmm, fresh blood and such soft skin. I do hope Rodolphos let's me have you in the end, that's after he's finished with you of course", he laughed manically as he blindfolded Sofia and dragged her from the room.
Her body ached after the journey to Lestrange. Greyback had let her legs and feet hit every stair as he pulled her down them and banged her into every wall and door. She was soon thrown on to hard stone floor, landing on her knees with her hands tied behind her back.
Sofia's blindfold was ripped off and she was forced once again to look into the murderous face of Rodolphos Lestrange.
"Welcome back Miss Zabini, I must say I have missed you", he smirked.
"I'm afraid the sentiments can't be returned", Sofia spat out.
She may have been in a worse position than he was but if she was going to go down, she wasn't going to go without a fight. She may be in Slytherin now, but she was a Gryffindor at heart and she always would be.
"Tut tut. You have become a very beautiful woman, it's a shame you still have that filthy mouth", he said as struck her on the side of the face.
Her cheek burned and she could already feel the bruising coming up as she replied, "It's not as filthy as your wife. How's she doing by the way? Oh yeah, she's dead!".
She was pulled to her feet as Lestrange grabbed hold of her hair from behind. His broad shoulders and muscly arms ensured she was held firmly. She could feel his stubbled face on the side of hers as he breathed in the scent of her hair.
"I wouldn't let that mouth run away with you if I was you, you never know what the consequences might be, Sofia", he whispered as he let his tongue run over the edge of her ear.
"I know enough about you to know what the consequences will be", Sofia hissed as she kicked him hard in the shins.
He threw her onto floor and she landed on her back. His shaved head loomed down on her as he stared at her with disgust. She couldn't hep but think it ironic that he would look at her like that, as it was he who smelled and looked putrid. His expensive robes did nothing to disguise what the tortures of Azkaban had clearly done to him.
"Oh, I don't think you do! CRUCIO!".
Sofia writhed in pain but she refused to scream out loud. She remembered her screams the night that Rodolphos' wife had tortured her at Malfoy Manor. She remembered the utter satisfaction on Bellatrix's face as she laughed in mirth and glee at the sheer agony she was inflicting on the girl beneath her. Sofia would not give any death eater that satisfaction again and that included the murderous animal that was in front of her.
"It doesn't seem as if we have a screamer! Don't worry I can fix that. Come on out men, come join the party!".
Sofia looked around, confused and still dizzy from the pain. It was then that she saw more death eaters, who were meant to be in prison or dead, as they formed a circle around her.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Have some fun", Lestrange declared.
Turn by turn they all caused Sofia some excruciating pain. Whether it was by means of the cruciatus or by physical means, they all had a go and her resovle was slowly dwindling. She would not scream though. Even if it meant death, she would not give them what they wanted.
Blaise, Harry, Draco, Ron, Pansy, Daphne, Theo, Adrian, Greg and Vinnie were all sat in the Room of Requirement trying to figure out a plan to find Sofia and bring her home.
"Lestrange Manor was demolished after the war so they can't be there, they had another property in Scotland, maybe they could be there?", Draco voiced. Bellatrix and Rudolophos were his Aunt and Uncle and he knew where that house was.
"It's a good thought, but I've just heard Kinglsey talking to McGonagall. The Aurors have checked there and it's completely empty", came Ginny Weasley's voice as she walked through the door.
"Weaslette! What are you doing here?".
"Hermione is one of my best friends, did you really expect me to just sit back while she's missing?".
Both Draco, Blaise and Ron were ready to protest to her help but the death glare she sent them soon shut them up. They knew the fiery red head was a force to be reckoned with and Draco distinctly remembered the effects of her infamous bat bogey hex. Harry knew her too well to even try and stop her.
"Well where else could they be?!", Blaise yelled getting more and more frustrated by the second.
Every minute they spent here meant his sister was getting closer and closer to death. It sickened him that she might be in pain somewhere. Somewhere where they couldn't find her and by the looks of things here, they never would. It didn't help that he had been the one to break the news to his parents, after the Headmistress had called them to her office. His Father didn't even move at first and his Mother was inconsolable. She had broken down right in front of him. It wasn't nice seeing one's parent lose it like that, in fact it was unbearable to watch. Thankfully, it was his Father who had finally snapped out of his daze and taken action, gently persuading his wife to pull herself together for their daughter's sake. Since then, they had been doing everything they could to help with the hunt for Lestrange and Sofia.
"What about any friends the Lestrange's had? Or other family?", Daphne suggested.
"Yeah Malfoy, what about their family? Your favourite uncle isn't lodging at yours is he?", Ron glared.
Draco was ready to pummell him into the ground before Harry shot up and stood in the middle.
"Ron, that was bang out of order! They all want to find Hermione as much as we do! She's going to be Malfoy's wife for Merlin's sake and Blaise is her twin so if you're not going to be helpful just get out!".
The whole room was shocked with Harry's words. He had essentially defended Blaise and Draco against his own best friend. The Slytherins were anticipating an explosive brawl when they were astonished to see Weasley bow his head in shame. It seemed that Luna Lovegood really had had a good effect on Ron as he soon sobered up.
"Sorry", he mumbled.
He may not have said it with any emotion but the group could tell by his eyes that he really meant it. They all disliked him, but they knew deep down that, like them, he would do anything for Sofia.
Blaise nodded his head as the group silently agreed to get along for the sake of his twin.
"Now, they have to be somewhere. We just need to work out where so come on, we can't give up!", Harry said as he took charge, urging everyone to carry on thinking.
Sofia regained consciousness and found herself in the same room she had woken up in after she had been taken from the forest, only this time she felt even worse. Her body was screaming with pain and she could still hear the laughing and taunting of the death eaters in her ears. She was in so much agony that she couldn't even move. Tears slowly formed in her eyes and her body shook from the cold. Despite the protesting of her limbs, she sat up to take her cloak off and wrapped it around her as the rest of her school uniform was not doing a good job of keeping her warm. It was then that she felt something hard in her pocket.
Taking the object out she realised that it was the ring that Draco had thrown at her. 'Draco'. Her heart ached for him. She regretted the last things she said to him so much that it hurt her more than any cruciatus curse had ever done. She was going to die here and the last thing she had said to him was that she hated the fact she had to marry him. It destroyed her knowing that she was going to die having never told Draco just how much she did want to marry him, that she was just angry with their parents for betrothing them. She hoped with every fibre of her being that Draco didn't hate her, that he still wanted her even after what she had said. She hoped that he loved her like she loved him. She wished she coud tell him how happy he made her and how much she adored him.
A faint smile adorned her features as she remembered the night in the common room. He had told her he loved her that night and she had never felt exhilaration like it. Draco always made her feel as if she was the most special human being in the universe. It was as if no one could or would ever compare to her. She was truly unique and he loved her all the more for it. No one had ever made her feel like that before and she thought she would never experience a feeling better but then he told her he loved her. She literally soared when those words came out of his mouth. She didn't know if he had planned to say them or not but that didn't matter to her. All that mattered was that he had said them. She hadn't expected it but she was beyond thrilled that he had. They were the three words that consolidated their relationship. They were in love and there was no better feeling in the world. Now though, she would never hear those words again. She would never watch as his grey eyes sparkled liked diamonds as he looked at her and told her he loved her.
With these thoughts she opened the box and put the ring on her finger. It looked even more exquisite there than it did in the box, but that was not why she put it on. If she couldn't tell him she still loved him while she was alive then maybe, if they found her after she had been killed, he would know when she was dead. He would know that she loved him with every fibre of her entire being and that she did want to marry him more than anything in this world. Just by looking at the ring on her finger he would know that. She smiled a little as she admired the ring. His ring that made her his forever, even after she had left this life.
Draco was leaning against the wall away from the others. He couldn't take this anymore. They had been at this for hours and been in constant contact with the search party trying to find her outside of Hogwarts but not a single scrap of evidence had been found. Aurors were searching every possible place they could think of and Andre and Seline Zabini were rallying their own sources together to try and find their daughter. Despite their best efforts though, they were no where near finding Sofia and it was slowly but surely breaking him.
"We'll find her Draco, you have to believe that", came Pansy's soothing voice as she put a tentative hand on Draco's back.
"You can't know that. She could be dead for all we know".
Draco choked as the image of Sofia's lifeless body came into his mind. He felt like he was going to fall but Pansy soon steadied him and they slumped to the floor next to each other.
Pansy had known Draco all of her life and never had she seen him cry, but now, here he was breaking down in front of her. She held on to him like her life depended on it and cried with him. Sofia had become her best friend and it killed her knowing that she was in such terrible danger. She couldn't even being to imagine how Draco and Blaise were feeling.
"I didn't tell her I love her, Pans. After we fought, I didn't tell her that I still loved her. What if she doesn't know that she's, she's my world", Draco sobbed.
Her heart broke for him so she mustered all the strength she had to try and get him out of his state of despair.
"You will tell her, Draco, when we find her. And you'll tell her again every day after that. You'll tell her again on your wedding day and you'll tell her again when your children are born. You'll tell her you love her when you go to bed at night together and you'll tell her when you leave for work in the morning. You'll tell her when you come home and she's sat there with her head in a book. You'll tell her when she's flipping her lid because you forgot your anniversary and you'll tell her when she's wandering around the house in one of your shirts that you just bought. Draco, you'll spend the rest of your life telling Sofia that you love her but right now she needs you. She needs you to be strong and not give up because she needs you to find her. She needs all of us".
Pansy's words seemed to have gotten throught to him as Draco wiped his eyes, stood up and brushed himself down.
"You're right, Pans. I'll go and tell Weasley I love him before I give up on her".
With that the twosome walked back to the group.
"Have we got anything yet?".
"Nothing", came Ron's glum reply.
Silence settled over the group of students as their resolve slowly lessened. Right now, it seemed futile to even continue searching but they all knew that they would search until the end of time for Sofia. She meant something different to each and every one of them but she was just as special to all. Despite the lack of headway they were making, the all knew that somehow, some way they would find her, even if they died doing so.
Just then the crackling of the fire against the far wall caught their attention. Suddenly, the flames turned green and the head of Andre Zabini appeared there. They had all thought it strange how the Room of Requirement was somehow linked to the floo network, as all fires were meant to be accounted for at the Ministry of Magic, but that fact was not important. Not while Sofia was in such peril.
"Blaise!", Andre shouted.
"Dad! What is it? Have you found her?", Blaise gushed as he ran over to the fire.
It was apparent by the look of anguish on his Father's face that this was not the case. Whatever his Father had come to tell him, it was clearly not good news.
"The Aurors have been scouring Hogwarts for any sign or trace of her and they found something".
"What is it? What have they found?".
It killed Andre to have to deliver such terrible news to his son but he knew that Blaise would never forgive him if he didn't share everything he knew with him.
"It was in the Forbidden Forest, on the ground next some trees".
"What was it?", Blaise asked, hoping that the thing his Father was talking about was not his worst fear.
"Blood. Sofia's blood".
The colour drained from Blaise's face as he comprehended his Father's words. It may not have been the worst possible news they could hear but it was almost as bad. Now they knew that wherever Sofia was, she was hurt. Someone had been so vile and cruel as to injure his sister. She may be strong but it was Blaise's duty to protect her and he couldn't help but feel as if he had failed. As Andre Zabini's face disappeared from the fire, Blaise turned to the rest of the group.
Pansy and Daphne were crying. Potter and Weasely had grim worry etched onto their features and the rest wore dwindling expressions of hope. He locked eyes with Draco and he knew Draco was feeling much the same way as he was right now. They felt sick and they felt helpless. Sofia was hurt somewhere with injuries they did not know anything of. Was she currently writhing in agony? Was she fighting for her life? Was she even still alive? They did not know the answer to any of the questions that resounded in their heads but they would be damned if they didn't find out soon.
I'm so sorry this took so long but my last chapter for a novella I'm writing took longer than expected to upload, please forgive me! I'd love to know what you all think of this chapter as it was quite a tricky one to write so please leave me a review. They are very much appreciated and I always respond ! Please keep reading, MM :)
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