The group of Gryffindors and Slytherins made themselves comfortable in the Room of Requirement once again that next morning. Their hearts were heavy as no extra news of Sofia's whereabouts had been found. They had immediately become irritated with sitting around and waiting so they had all gone down to the Forbidden Forest earlier to help the Auror team search for more clues.
Draco had nearly lost it when he had arrived there and witnessed what it was the Aurors were doing. They held long white sticks which they pushed into the ground as they walked. He knew what those sticks were for. They could detect if something had recently been buried and they were used to feel for things under the shrubbery were the ground was hidden from view. They weren't looking for Sofia. They were looking for her body. It made Draco sick that they had given up hope so soon. The reassurances that it was only protocol did not do anything to ease the putrid taste that arrived in his mouth. It wasn't just him either. Weasley had gone off on one too and he was pretty sure Blaise would have done so had he not been so shocked.
Not being able to handle the sight that befell their eyes, they had headed back to the room they had begun to feel accustomed to being in. An intense silence rang throughout the air as each pondered the implications of what the Auror's were doing. Pansy, Daphne and even Ginny were crying as they could not get the image of a lifeless Sofia out of their minds. The boys all felt sick with what devastating news could arrive any minute if anything was found. They didn't want to think of it but they couldn't help the notion consume their entire beings. Everyone was lost in their own train of thought and all had an overwhelming feeling of helplessness as they thought of Sofia and her fate.
Out of nowhere, a loud crack sounded in the silence, shaking the students from their reveries. They were all startled by the intrusion as the oddest thing appeared.
"Kreacher! What are you doing here?", asked Harry, thoroughly perplexed.
"Master! You must come quick! Kreacher saw them! They don'ts know Kreacher was there and they don'ts know Kreacher is here! Master, you must stop them!", came Kreacher's urgent voice.
"Kreacher, slow down! What are you talking about?".
"They are there, in the noble of House of Black, well, the noble House of Potter Kreacher is not sure if Master Harry has changed the name, Master, bu-"
"Kreacher, who is there?!", exclaimed Harry.
"The Death Eaters! With Master Lestrange!".
The whole room froze. It was the last place they ever expected. The last place on earth they would have thought of but thanks to Kreacher they now knew. Sofia was at Grimmauld Place.
Banging on the roof of the Noble House of Black could be heard as the group of Death Eaters looked to their leader for instruction. It was almost sickening to see how their every move and every decision was dictated to them. It was even more revolting as they gazed upon Lestrange like lost puppies, admiring his every disgusting quirk and warped belief.
"Go and get the girl, it seems her friends are trying to break through the barriers", Lestrange barked.
Within minutes Sofia had been dragged once again to what she was guessing was a basement. The shuddering cold and the many stairs she had been pulled down gave so much away. Lestrange turned on her as she lay in the middle of floor, just having had her blindfold removed. She wanted to stand up and look him dead in the eye but she just couldn't. She wanted the familiar feel of an expression of grim determination and courage to settle on her face but she couldn't even manage that. Her breaths were raspy and her body convulsed in agony. She was just barely hanging on so it was all she could do but to lie there and await her inevitable doom.
"It seems the search party has arrived. I must admit I thought it would have taken them longer to find you but then again, we are in Potter's house", Lestrange grinned as he flashed his mouldy black teeth to her.
"Potter's house? What on earth is he on about? Oh my Merlin, I'm in Grimmauld Place!".
"But, how did you even get in here?", Sofia attempted to cry.
If anyone was to overhear their conversation, they'd think Sofia was simply asking about the weather judging by her tone of voice. She had no energy to shout or even raise her voice. Her tiny body had been put through too much torment and torture for it to handle. Her brain seemed to be the last thing working reasonably as she had now figured that the reason for her blindfold was so that she did not recognise her surroundings. However, she had no idea how they had even entered Grimmauld Place to start with.
"A little legilimency while you were out cold certainly did the trick", Lestrange cackled, "we thought it would be more than humourous that you three, the three who somehow managed to vanquish the Dark Lord, were to die in the great Harry Potter's own home".
At Sofia's frightened expression Lestrange carried on talking.
"Oh yes, you three are going to die. Potter, that Weasley and you. Did you really think that you would come away from this unscathed? That you would go on to live your pathetic little lives after you destroyed the most powerful sorcerer to ever live?".
"In case you haven't noticed, people now say that Harry Potter is the greatest sorcerer to ever live. You and your cronies don't stand a chance!", Sofia shouted, draining the last morsel of energy she had left.
She couldn't seem to muster up the strength to defend herself, but when someone was threatening the lives of her friends she could summon all of the stamina she needed to. Her little victory at sounding somewhat courageous was short lived though, as Lestrange wiped the last ounce of vehemence she had within her.
Her body burned with unbearable pain once again. She knew she couldn't take much more of this. She was hours if not minutes away from death. No matter how much she pushed herself, the unbearable pain seemed to be getting the better of her. She couldn't concentrate on anything else but that for it was impossible to ignore. The feeling of being thrown into fiendfire and having a thousand knives plunged into you at the same time was excruciating. Sofia couldn't help but to release a small whimper as her world began to darken.
"You three are going to pay for what you have done and when Potter and Weasley get here, you're going to sit there and watch them die before you beg me to take your life too. You might be a Zabini now, but you'll always the mudblood witch Hermione Granger to me!", Rodolphos thundered as he yet again commenced his torture on the fragile Sofia.
"They've put up anti-apparition barriers. We need to apparate around the corner then go in through the front", Harry decided as he returned back to the gates of Hogwarts.
"But won't they be expecting that?", Daphne nervously questioned.
"Yes. They know it's our only way in so when we get there don't even waste a second. I want everyone in with wands out and shouting spells before the door even opens. They might be prepared for our arrival, but they won't be prepared for immediate action, if anything they'll think we'll be planning or trying to sneak in without them knowing".
"Wait Potter, are you sure it's wise for you and Weasley to go? I mean, the only thing we've managed to figure out is that it's clearly a trap to get you two there as well?", asked Pansy.
She did not want to see anyone die, not even them. The thought of seeing anyone breathe their last breaths made her want to vomit all over the stone dirt track they were stood on.
"Do you actually think we care?!", came the voice of Ronald Weasley, "Do you actually think I care if I go in there and get killed?".
The whole group were stunned as Harry and Ginny too wore the same defiant face as Ron. They had never really heard anyone speak so candidly of dying and it was discomforting yet encouraging at the same time.
"I think you should start realising that I would do anything for that girl. I'd trade places with her right now if I could!", the red head continued, "I don't mean to sound patronising but this is all new to you lot, we've been doing this since we were eleven. Risking our lives for each other, saving each other! I'd happily sacrifice my own life for her and I know that, even though I wouldn't want her to, Hermione would do exactly the same for me!".
It was then that the group thought back to the night in the common room, when Sofia had told them of the Trio's battle in the war. They remembered her exact words as she spoke from that pure heart of hers, 'and I'd do it all over again if I had to, just as I would do it for all of you'.
The Slytherins looked around at each other, each hearing the same voice in their minds and they nodded. She would do it for them so they sure as hell were going to do it for her.
"Well, what are we waiting for?!", Blaise demanded, anxious to get to his beloved twin before it was too late.
With fierce looks of determination Blaise, Draco, Ron, Harry, Pansy, Daphne, Ginny, Theo, Adrian, Vinnie and Greg all apparated to Grimmauld Place.
As they huddled under Harry's now enlarged invisibility cloak in front of the door, Harry whispered as silently as he could.
"One, two, three, BOMBARDA!".
The cloak was thrown off them as the group hurled inside the ancient house of Black, already throwing curses and defensive spells at the waiting Death Eaters.
Spells were being thrown left, right and center as the battle raged on further and further into the house. They had already taken out a few Death Eaters but in return, they had also taken out Adrian, Vinnie and Greg who were either unconscious or lying under the rubble that was previously the floor above. Draco had narrowly avoided a green jet of light just as he tackled the Death Eater who was torturing Blaise with the cruciatus. He helped his friend up and pulled them behind a dislodged bookshelf after stunning the attacker.
"Blaise, come on! We have to find her", Draco hissed.
With that the boys left their hiding place and began hurling spells at the oncoming Death Eaters as they slowly made their way to the door. They managed to slip out unnoticed as they saw their friends continue to battle. The house was a maze of corridors and passage ways and the more dead ends and empty rooms the boys found, the more panic stricken they became. They must have been searching for a while as they noticed that the fighting seemed to have moved throughout the house as screams, shouts and bangs could be heard on every floor.
Draco and Blaise continued to run as fast as their legs could carry them in search of Sofia. In their fast pace, they only just managed to stop themselves from colliding with Harry and Ron, as they rounded the corner the boys were just about to turn down.
"Have you found her?!".
"No, but we need to keep looking!".
It was then that Blaise noticed something that Ron was carrying.
"What is that?".
"I found it upstairs, she must be in here somewhere but she can't be good we need to hurry", Ron urged.
Blaise grabbed the item off Ron and found it to be Sofia's school robe. It was tiny compared to his. As he looked at it, he remembered teasing Sofia during the holidays that she would fit in with the first years at the sorting ceremony. Looking at the robe it wasn't hard to see why. It would probably fit half of them. Despite the fond memory, a sickening feeling made itself at home in his stomach as he noticed that the robe was torn in places and worst of all, it was drenched in blood. There was no point in even hoping that it would be someone else's, that Sofia had somehow fended off her attacker and it was his blood that soaked through the black material. Blaise knew in his heart that this was the blood of his twin, the same blood than ran through his veins, and it terrified him at how much pain had been inflicted on Sofia.
Not wanting to see it anymore, he threw it on the floor and the four boys set off down the stairs to the basement. It was the only room that hadn't been checked and they found it odd that no Death Eaters were to be seen here. They swiftly reached the metal door and ran inside. What they found was horrifying and it would forever be etched into their memories.
Sofia was lying in a crumpled heap on the floor. Her face was bloody and bruises could be seen all over her body. Her school tie was nowhere to be found and the front of her blouse was ripped in places, exposing her blackened ribs. Her crystal eyes were closed as she lay there unmoving.
"NO!", Blaise ran forward to his twin but it seemed there was an invisible shield around her, for as soon as he hit it he was thrown backwards into the wall.
"How nice of you to join us Mr Zabini and you too young Master Malfoy, however, your presence here is unnecessary. It's them two that I want", came the snarling of voice of Rodolphos Lestrange.
He soon appeared from around a corner, glaring at Harry and Ron. His menacing eyes never left Harry's as he and Ron glared back with hatred.
"My sister! What have you done to her?!", Blaise screamed, terrified at the state of Sofia's lifeless body.
"She only got what she deserved, my dear boy. It is a shame though, I had hoped she would be alive to watch her friends die", Lestrange said disappointedly as he rolled Sofia's head around with his foot.
"Don't touch her!".
"Now now Draco, you would do well to remember your place", Lestrange hissed.
"My place is with her!".
"Aww don't tell me you have fallen for the girl! Such a pity, you were destined for so much".
"I'm destined for her, now give her to me!", Draco bellowed.
"Not on your life!".
A cloud of black smoke engulfed the room as three Death Eaters appeared and the fight broke out again.
"I'm coming for you Potter!", Lestrange barked as he advanced on Harry.
"Come and get me then!", Harry yelled back as he started shooting curse after curse at Lestrange.
The duel raged on around Sofia as she still lay there on the floor. The four boys fought with all their might but it seemed as if the Death Eaters were too skilled for them. It was with luck on their side that the rest of the remaining group hurtled through the door and joined in, helping their friends defeat the evil that was keeping them from Sofia.
Despite their increase in number, the Death Eaters still managed to wipe out Daphne and Theo, leaving only Ginny and Pansy with the four boys but even that didn't last long. Ginny's red hair could be seen sprawled on the floor and Ron had disappeared between some fallen cupboards. As Harry turned around to help his friend he was not prepared for hands grabbing his hair and a wand being thrusted into his neck.
"Gotcha", Lestrange snarled.
As he looked the other way Harry noticed that Blaise, Draco and Pansy were all in similar positions with the other Death Eaters.
"Now, I suggest you all watch really closely and remember it well because this is the day that the Dark Lord is avenged. This is the day that Harry Potter dies!".
The fateful words began to come from his mouth. The cruel evil spell that ruined families and caused so much devastation. The spell that took away someone's life. The spell that killed. But it didn't come, it never did. Before Lestrange could finish, his body froze and he fell to the floor.
Draco, Blaise and Pansy took the Death Eaters shock at what had happened and it used it against them, taking advantage of it and stunning them. After magically binding them the foursome turned to look behind Harry.
She was still lying on the floor but in her shaking hand was a wand. The wand that just saved Harry's life as she cursed Lestrange before he could kill her best friend.
"Draco, Harry", she whispered.
Talking was clearly too painful for her as her words came out in gasps of breath.
"It's ok, we're here", Harry soothed.
After his momentary shock at seeing his sister awake, Blaise ran over to her where Sofia was resting her head on Draco's legs.
"Blaise, I'm sorry. I- I'm so sorry".
"Don't be silly, you have nothing to be sorry fo- Sofia!".
Her eyes were flickering as she struggled to fight for her life.
"No! Don't go! Sofia you have stay awake. Sofia look at me! LOOK AT ME!".
Draco's desperate voice rang through the house as he begged Sofia not to go.
A ghost of a smile appeared on her face as she looked into his stormy grey eyes.
"Sofia, come on, stay awake. Stay awake for me please! Just keep looking at me! It's going to be ok, we're going to get you out of here where you'll be safe. Please, just don't leave me!".
"Draco?", Sofia said, her voice fading every second, "I love you".
"I love you too, Sofia, more than you'll ever know", Draco cried as he lowered his forehead to hers.
As he looked up, ready to speak words of comfort to her he froze. Her eyes were closed. He screamed her name over and over. He shook her body, desperately trying to wake her as Blaise broke down on her other side but no matter how much he shouted and no matter how much he tried, Sofia would not wake up.
Please don't hate me! It's just the way the story has to go! I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions, as I worked really hard on this chapter, so please leave me a review. I really appreciate them and I always reply! Until Chapter 20, MM :)
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