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Hermione awoke with a splitting headache. What happened? She asked herself.

She forced her eyes open, and found herself in an unfamiliar bedroom. It was extremely ornate, with black silk bedding on a huge canopy bed. Glancing around the room she saw that she was alone, but when she tried to sit up, she found that her arms were bound over her head.

She struggled a bit, a looked for her wand in vain. Calm down Hermione. Think rationally, how do you get out of this.

She tried to temper her panic, as she looked around the room for anything familiar. She tested the bonds on her wrists, and found them too tight to wriggle out of.

Where in the world am I? She wondered. Something about this room seemed familiar.

Hermione wasn’t sure how long she would be alone, so she took a few minutes and carefully memorized the room. There were several doors, and she tried to guess which was an exit. She was quite certain it was the double doors that were opposite the bed she was laying on.

Just as she had returned to trying to figure out how to loosen her restraints, the doors slammed open, and in walked Rabastan Lestrange.

“She’s awake.” He called over his shoulder, as he approached Hermione.

He was shortly followed by his brother Rodolphus, who leered at Hermione with a sinister eye. “Hermione Granger.” He said, with a laugh. “The brains of the Golden Trio.”

You know," Rodolphus said, leering her way, "I was really after the Weasley girl. I'm going to kill her as payment to her mother for killing my wife. But there's no reason we can't have a bit of fun before we get there. We'll use you to draw them here."

Hermione shivered, but she didn't give Rodolphus the satisfaction of a response.

"No wise remark to that?" Rodolphus teased. "I don't know if you'll enjoy the process. We'll really need to get them worked up, otherwise they might have their wits about then when the arrive, and we can't have that."

Hermione shrugged her shoulders, trying to appear less terrified than she really was. "You don't scare me."

"Hmmmm." Rodolphus said, appraising her. "I believe that might be true. For now."

He turned to leave the room, and said to his brother on the way out, "Not the face, she needs to be recognizable."

Rabastan nodded, and drew his wand.




"What do you mean, 'They took her'!?" Draco yelled. "Who took her? Who was there?!"

"Quiet Draco!" Ginny hissed, "Do you want to keep your relationship under wraps or not?"

"I don't care about that anymore, we have to go find her!" Draco cried, his voice ringing with desperation.

"Well that's what we're working on now." Ginny said. "I thought you should know."

"We who?" Draco cried, "The Order?"

Ginny nodded. "Come on, they're in the room of requirement."

"Are they going to let me help?" Draco hissed.

"Well, your information about the Death Eaters was accurate, and they think you might have more inside information." Ginny explained. "But understand, no one here trusts you."

"Including you, I get it." Draco said dully. "I don't care what happens to me, we just need to get Hermione back before something horrible happens to her."

"Like what?" Ginny asked, appraising Draco.

"I... You really don't want to know." Draco said, running his hands through his hair.

"Don't I?" Ginny hissed, "That's my best friend!"

"I know that Ginny." Draco said, "Which is why I'm not going to tell you. These are the worst sort of people. I wish I didn't know."

They reached the room of requirement, and found everyone sitting around the table.

“Malfoy.” Harry nodded at Draco. “Lestrange took Hermione. Any idea where they might have gone?”

“There’s half a dozen safe houses that I know of.” Draco said, striding over to the table and grabbing a quill. He circled points on the map in Romania, Bulgaria, Scotland, and scattered throughout England. “But there’s bound to be more. No one in Riddle’s operation ever knew the whole story.”

Ginny’s head shot up at Draco’s use of the name Riddle. “So he could have her at any of these places, or none of them?

“I’d say he’s more likely to have her in a new location.” Draco said, shaking his head. “I doubt he trusts me, not after you tried to round them all up.”

“Well, we can test that theory.” Ron said, rubbing his temples. “Send him an owl. Tell him you heard there was a raid, and you’re concerned for his safety. See if he buys it.”

“It won’t work unless there’s some public knowledge of the raid.” Draco pointed out. “Put it in the prophet or something first, and then I can try… but we’re going to run out of time before that gives us any meaningful leads.”

“I agree.” Kingsley said. “I think we should have teams clear these safe houses now, just to be sure.”

“Can the Auror department operate on this information?” Arthur Weasley asked Kingsley, “After all, the information was obtained through a non-sanctioned operation.”

“Not really.” Kingsley said. “Hermione was kidnapped during a non-sanctioned op. The information was handed over by a confidential informant.”

“I thought I couldn’t be an informant if I’m on probation.” Draco said dryly. “That’s why you’ve never asked me for any of this before.

“Well, I told you your probation would be downgraded if this morning’s information panned out.” Kingsley said. “Consider yourself a level two probationer.”

“Ok, then what other information do you want?” Draco said, taking a seat. “What would help?”

“Any of Lestrange’s known friends?” Harry asked. “People he would trust?”

“That’s a pretty short list.” Draco replied, shaking his head. “And most of those people are dead or in Azkaban. Bellatrix and his brother Rabastan were usually his confidants.”

“Well, that narrows it down.” McGonagall said, “But Rabastan was never collected after the battle, nor was he detained in the raid this morning.”

“Rabastan is still out there?” Draco cried, trying to temper his panic.

“Yes, he’s a slippery one.” Kingsley said, shaking his head.

“Well, that means we have even less time.” Draco said, looking pale. “Rabastan is a particularly nasty bloke. He took care of most of Riddle’s torturing; he enjoys it.”

“Well, bloody hell.” Ron said, slamming his fist on the table. “Kingsley, get some teams out there to clear the safe houses. We have to start somewhere.”




“So. Miss Granger?” Rabastan said, leering down at Hermione. He ran a hand up the side of her body, stopping at her neck and forcibly turning her head so she was looking at him. “Too bad my brother said I have to leave your face alone. That’s taking away half my fun!”

Hermione tried to jerk her head away, but Rabastan held her fast. “Tsk tsk tsk. Don’t try and move away. I’ll show you what happens if you move!”

Suddenly Hermione’s world was pain as Rabastan hit her with the cruciatis curse. She bit her tongue until she tasted blood, refusing to cry out.

When he released the curse, Hermione lifted her foot and kicked him in the gut.

Rabastan groaned. “That was a mistake dearie.”

“Oh yeah?” Hermione asked, “Well then so is this!” She jerked her leg around again and kicked Rabastan directly in the nose, hearing a satisfying crunch as the bone broke.

“You’re gonna pay for that one Love.” Rabastan said, wiping blood off his lip, and raising his wand.

Hermione wasn’t sure how much time passed; she felt like it could have been minutes or days. In between the cruciatis curse, Rabastan hit her with other things. She lost track of what most of them were.

Someone has to be looking for me. She told herself. They wouldn’t just let him take me without a fight.

After what seemed like an eternity, Rodolphus returned to the room.

“I said not to hit her in the face!” He hissed at his brother.

“I didn’t! She bloody keeps biting her lip.” Rabastan argued.

Hermione ran her tongue over her lip and realized it was swollen.

“Well, she looks rough enough to take some pictures I’d say.” Rodolphus said, and he tossed a ball of fabric at Hermione. “Change into that girl, and lets show your little friends what they’re missing!”

Hermione shook her head. “I’m not helping you!”

“Do you want another round of the cruciatis first?” Rodolphus demanded. “Thus far you’ve done an admirable job of holding your tongue. Most people break down and scream.”

“You’re not worth the energy of screaming.” Hermione spat, sounding stronger than she felt.

“Hmmm.” Rodolphus circled the bed. “I think we’re going to have to get a little creative with this one.”

“What did you have in mind?” Rabastan asked, running his hands along Hermione’s collar bone. Suddenly, he grabbed her sweater and tore it open right down the front. Hermione had never been so happy to have layered her sweater over a shirt.

“Nothing for the time being.” Rodolphus said, leaving the room. “Lets send off some pictures and see how they respond.”

“Pity.” Rabastan said, creepily. “But we’ll get there. Here's how this is going to work girl.I'm going to undo your wrists, and you are going to change into that gown. When you're finished, I'm going to tie your wrists back up."

Hermione snorted. "I really don't see myself cooperating with any part of this."

"Well, we can always use a bit more of the cruciatis to convince you." Rabastan said with a smirk.

"If that hasn't worked so far, what makes you think it's going to work now?" Hermione said, trying to stall.

"I didn't say I'd be using it on you." Rabastan laughed, and snapped his fingers.

In the corner of the room appeared a tiny house elf. She was clearly very young, and very scared.

"I heard you have an ill informed attachment to these creatures." Rabastan said. "Either you follow my instructions, or I'll use the cruciatis on her."

Hermione felt herself begin to panic; the poor elf was terrified. She clearly knew what was coming.

Rabastan raised his wand and pointed it at the little elf.

"Don't!" Hermione screamed. "I'll change, just don't hurt her!"

"Pity." Rabastan said, lowering his wand. "I thought we'd need a bit more convincing."

He strode over to the bed and began to undo Hermione's wrists. "Remember, any funny business, and the elf gets it."

When her wrists were free, Hermione lowered her arms, and rotated her shoulders, which were sore from having been in the same position for so long.

"Get on with it." Rabastan snapped, pointing at the ball of fabric on the bed.

"I'm not going to change with you watching me." Hermione insisted.

"Well I'm not going to leave you alone in here, so the choice is yours." Rabastan shrugged, pointing his wand back at the elf.

Hermione tried to weigh her options, but every scenario led to the poor elf getting tortured in her stead.

Finally, she decided she would try and change by layering. She picked up the wad of fabric, and unrolled it. It was a white silk nightgown, that seemed to fall to her knees.

She pulled it on over her clothes, and then carefully pulled her T-shirt and jeans out from under the gown, folded them and set them on the bedside table.

"Well, you're just too clever for your own good, aren't you?" Rabastan said, rolling his eyes. "Get back on the bed."

Hermione groaned inwardly. She'd have to think of another way out of this. She climbed back up on the bed, and tried to remain sitting up as Rabastan retied her hands over her head.

Hermione flexed her wrists as he tied, hoping to create some space in the rope, but it was no use.

"Nice try dearie, but this isn't my first time tying a person up." Rabastan sneered.

Hermione cursed his expertise. “Piss off.”

“Hmmm, you’re a feisty one, aren’t you?” Rabastan chuckled. “I think I’m going to enjoy this!”

Hermione glared at him. She remembered that most instances of accidental magic happened when a witch or wizard was angry or upset. Deciding to channel her anger, and see if she could perform wandless magic, she spit at Rabastan.

Rabastan backhanded her across the face, “Now, now my pet. Play nicely, or Fifi over there will get it.”

Hermione could still feel the sting of his hand when Rodolphus returned to the room with a camera. “Well done, that’s perfect.”

“Do you think the bruises will show enough in the picture?” Rabastan asked.

“I think it’ll be enough for the first demand.” Rodolphus said, studying Hermione, and making her want to crawl away from his gaze.

“No one is going to give you anything Lestrange!” Hermione shouted at him. She found that anger not only distracted her from her fear, but from her pain.

“I guess we’ll find out, won’t we.” Rodolphus said. “Gag her, it always makes them mad when they get the pictures, and it’ll shut her up.”

“With pleasure.” Rabastan said, turning to the wardrobe in the corner and digging through until he came up with a Slytherin tie. “This one’s ironic.”

Hermione struggled to turn her head away from Rabastan, but he forced the gag into her mouth.




"This is useless." Draco said, scratching off yet another safe house from the map. He was desperately trying to maintain his composure, but Hermione had been missing for two days.
Ginny was finding herself in a bit of an internal crisis; Draco was clearly trying so hard to find Hermione, and no one else seemed to understand why he was helping. She felt the need to try to console him, as he tried to hide his ever increasing panic.

"Come on Malfoy, lets go get something to eat." Ginny said. "I'm starving."

Draco didn't want to step away from the map, be he needed a moment to let himself go, so he followed Ginny. No one seemed to notice as they left.

As they made their way down to the kitchens, Draco caught his reflection a few times--he looked like a mad man, his hair was a mess, his shirt was dirty. He was a shell of his former self.

When they got into the safety of the kitchens and the house elves had produced a small feast, Ginny said, "We'll find her Draco."

"Sure, but will we find her in time." Draco said, his voice thick.

Ginny noticed he was crying. "You're really worried about her?"

"Of course I'm bloody worried about her!" Draco cried, angrily wiping the tears off his face with the back of his hand. "I know what these monsters are capable of. I've seen it happen."

"Hermione has been tortured before Draco." Ginny said gently. "She's tough, she'll be alright."

"You don't understand Ginny." Draco sobbed. "The Lestranges, well let's just say Bellatrix was the least crazy of the bunch. If they have her long enough... I can't think about what shape she'll be in."

"Ok, well what aren't we thinking of." Ginny said. "There must be something we're missing."

"What about the Black family house?" Draco wondered aloud. "Bellatrix's family home. I'll bet no one's been there in ages!"

"Not quite." Ginny said, with a sigh. "Sirius left that to Harry. He and Ron are living there."

"Ha ha. Bella would hate that." Draco chuckled sadly.

"Eat something Draco." Ginny prodded, handing him a sandwich.

Draco shook his head. "I'm not hungry."

"Ok, well think of how mad Hermione will be when she gets back if you don't at least attempt to take care of yourself." Ginny argued. "Eat a sandwich, and go have a shower. I'll send you a patronus if anything breaks."

Draco felt like arguing, but Ginny was right. Hermione would be furious if she saw him in his current state.

"Thanks Ginny." Draco said, taking a sandwich and heading for the door. "I'll just be a few minutes."

Ginny took a platter of sandwiches up to the Room of Requirement, where Harry and Ron looked just about as rough as Draco. They'd been going on nearly continuous raids of Draco's list of safe houses since Hermione disappeared.

"We're making no headway." Harry was saying. "You don't think Malfoy is covering for Lestrange do you?"

"I doubt it." Ginny said, passing him a sandwich.

"What makes you say that?" Ron asked, with his mouth full.

"Say it, don't spray it Ron." Ginny exclaimed. "And you haven't been around Draco much this year. He's... well let's just say, he's not the same person he used to be."

"Yeah, I'm kind of getting that." Harry said, looking perplexed. "He does seem genuinely concerned about Hermione."

"Which is weird on so many levels." Ron said, reaching for a second sandwich. "Come on, we need to check out that last place in London."

Harry sighed, and straightened his Auror robes. "I'll let you know what we find."

"Ok." Ginny agreed, kissing him goodbye.

"Oi! Sister!" Ron cried.

"Oh, give it up Ron." Ginny said, rolling her eyes.

Ron and Harry left, and just a few minutes after, McGonagall came bursting into the room. "Where's everyone gone?" She gasped.

"Out on various raids." Ginny said. "And I sent Draco to go have a shower, because he was starting to look a bit homeless."

"That boy is probably going out of his mind." McGonagall said, dropping a flat parcel on the table. "That just arrived, for the Order. We might want to call everyone back in."

"Have you opened it?" Ginny asked.

McGonagall nodded grimly. "It's... a ransom letter. More or less."

Ginny slid the parchment out of it's envelope. Two pictures slid out with it, of Hermione tied to a bed in a ridiculous satin nightgown, gagged and looking furious.

"Well, I've seen her look worse." Ginny sighed. "She's angry, which I'm going to take as a good sign."

"I thought as much myself." McGonagall agreed. "I'm going to call everyone back in. We need to reconsider our position."

Ginny nodded, and felt her Order charm heat up as McGonagall performed the incantation.

"I told Draco I'd summon him if we got any new information." Ginny said, sending a patronus.

However, the patronus didn't go far, as Draco was just coming in the door. He had showered, and shaved, and put on clean clothes. "Did you find something?"

"More like, something found us." Ginny said, holding the pictures against her chest to hide them from Draco.

"Is it a ransom letter?" Draco asked, monotone.

"Yes, although I'm not sure how serious we're meant to take it, as the letter demands the release of all the Death Eaters including Voldemort." McGonagall said.

"That sounds like Lestrange." Draco said coldly, "Refusing to believe Riddle is dead."

"Well, at least we have some new information." Ginny pointed out.

"Yes." Draco said, holding his hand out for the photo's. "Hand it over Ginny."

"Look, Draco... I don't think..." Ginny started to say.

Draco cut her off, “Give me the pictures. I know what they are, I can figure out how much time we have.”

"Fine, but you need to react rationally." Ginny pressed, before handing the photographs to Draco.

Draco took a deep breath and turned the pictures over. There was his beautiful Hermione, bruised, exhausted, and restrained, but still looking furious at the situation.

"Well?" Ginny asked? "Can you tell what they've done to her?"

"Yes." Draco said coldly. "Not only that, I can tell you we have only a few hours to find her."

"Why is that Mr. Malfoy?" McGonagall asked.

"Because this is definitely the Lestrange brothers." Draco said, his voice monotone. "And they have a pretty specific sequence of events they use to try to break people."

He looked at the picture again, and did a double take. "No freaking way!"

"What? What is it?" Ginny asked.

"I know where they're keeping her!" Draco cried, setting the pictures on the table and charming them larger. "I'd recognize that bed anywhere."

"Draco, are you sure?" Ginny asked, skeptically.

"I'm positive... That's my room." Draco said, cracking his knuckles and looking murderous. "They're keeping her at Malfoy Manor."

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