As they left the castle the next day after breakfast, Addy dragged her trunk down the road slowly, lagging slightly behind the others. She turned to look back at the castle for a moment before she continued down the road, though she seemed to hit a rock or something she hadn’t seen, as her trunk hit the obstacle with a ‘thunk’ and popped open, and she stumbled forward. Odd, she thought. It almost felt as though she’d been pushed. But no one else was behind her, so she shook that thought from her head, and went back to gather the items that had fallen from her trunk.
A strangled shriek followed by a loud crack caused the others to start and turn around quickly. ‘Where’s Addy?’ Lily asked loudly.
‘Dara?’ Sirius shouted, feeling his heart rate pick up.
‘I don’t know,’ James said worriedly.
‘That’s her stuff,’ said Remus, walking back to her trunk, stooping down when he came up next to it. ‘And her wand,’ he said, holding the item up.
‘Fuck!’ Marlene exclaimed as they all looked around frantically.
‘We need to go tell Dumbledore,’ Mary said anxiously.
‘Someone’s taken her,’ Sirius said, as Mary, Marlene, and Lily ran back to the castle.
‘Who?’ Peter squeaked.
Sirius looked at him blankly.
‘You think her father?’ said James.
‘Or someone bringing her to him,’ Remus muttered darkly.
‘Oh, sodding hell,’ Sirius yelled, rubbing his hands over his face roughly.
‘We’ll find her mate,’ James said confidently.
‘Yeah, c’mon. Let’s go talk with Dumbledore,’ Remus added.
Sirius nodded wobbly and repacked Addy’s trunk with a short wave of his wand, picking up the end of it and dragging it along as the four of them went back toward the castle. When they reached the castle, they headed up the stairs to the headmaster’s office, finding the girls stood with McGonagall while Dumbledore had his head stuck in the fire. When he finally pulled his head out of the floo, he stood to face them, his expression grave. ‘Well, I have alerted the proper authorities.’
‘And who might that be?’ Sirius said sharply.
Dumbledore looked at him over his half-moon spectacles, and Sirius crossed his arms over his chest, staring back. ‘Alastor Moody. He is a contact I have in the Auror office. He’ll get the word out.’
‘Isn’t there something else we can do?’ Sirius growled, beginning to pace.
‘Padfoot, that’s not going to help,’ James said, putting a hand on his shoulder.
Sirius stopped and shared a look with James before he nodded.
‘Can’t we go look for her?’ Sirius said in a measured tone, looking around with raised eyebrows.
‘Do you have any suggestions, Black?’ McGonagall replied sharply.
‘I..’ Sirius ran a hand over his face. ‘No,’ he sighed.
‘Then I suggest you let the Aurors do their jobs.’
‘Shouldn’t we inform Alice?’
‘I’ve already done so,’ Dumbledore nodded.
‘So, we just have to wait?’
At McGonagall’s pointed looked Sirius sighed again and resumed his pacing.
Addy had shrieked as she was grabbed round the middle from behind, and a hand had come up to clamp over her mouth as she felt the familiar pull behind her navel that told her she was being disapparated. A mass of dark, curly hair was whipped over her face by a strong wind when they apparated outside a small, rundown house somewhere in the middle of the countryside. She couldn’t see another house, though she didn’t have time look round as she was shoved roughly to the ground. A cackling laugh erupted above her, and she found herself yanked up by her hair and dragged into the small house where she was shoved again, to the floor, with another cackling laugh. Addy grunted as a well-aimed kick was dealt to her ribs, then shrieked again as she felt the all-too-familiar pain of the cruciatis curse pass through her body.
‘Now, now, Bella, this is a family affair.’ Addy felt the curse lift, but she stiffened further at that voice. Still panting, she turned her head slowly, taking in the figure of her father who was now stood over her, wearing a contemptuous sneer. Bellatrix seemed to pout, and Addy saw her father grin maliciously. ‘Though you’re certainly welcome to watch. You may just learn something.’ Bellatrix cackled again, and Addy felt a wave of fear like she had never known wash over her.
‘No, no, no,’ Addy muttered weakly, as she tried to scramble back and away from her father; but she saw him nod toward one of two other men in the room, who was stood by him in the shadows, that she vaguely recognized as he came forward and took hold of her legs, pulling her back. She shrieked again, trying to kick him away, but her father came round the other man and quickly drove his knee into her abdomen, knocking the wind out of her as he positioned himself on top of her.
‘Hold her down,’ her father directed, and Addy felt the grip on her legs tighten and another set of hands grab both sides of her head, holding it in place. ‘I’m told you seem to think you can just leave? Haven’t we been over this Adhara?’ He pulled a small, silver knife, from his robes pocket. ‘Nothing I do or say, seems to have gotten through to you so far. But since you love mudbloods so much,’ he twirled the knife, and Addy’s eyes widened in panic. ‘Perhaps you’ll listen to their form of reasoning, hmm?’ Her father looked at her beadily, apparently considering, and Addy felt her entire body tremble in terror.
‘NO!’ she shrieked desperately.
‘Silence her, won’t you Bella?’
‘Oh, but I would so love to hear her screams,’ she purred into Addy’s ear.
‘Alright but put them up around the walls then. We don’t want to be interrupted.’
Bellatrix let loose a peal of cackling laughter again and Addy couldn’t help but whimper.
Her father smiled viciously and lifted her right arm without breaking eye contact. ‘Let’s see if this sinks in, shall we?’ He drove the knife into the soft flesh of her inner forearm meticulously and grinned still wider as she screamed. He seemed to delight in her pain. ‘Well,’ he murmured when he was apparently finished. ‘Have you learned your lesson now? Will you finally come to your senses and join the Dark Lord on the proper side of this war?’
Addy’s breathing was labored, her face streaked with tears and blood, but she looked him in the eye, determined he should know her intensions, as she said, ‘never,’ her voice no more than a whisper. But it was enough. She knew he had heard when his eyes flashed in anger.
‘Then you will never be on the right side. You will never win. And you are no daughter of mine.’ With that he plunged the knife into her gut, and she barely registered the gasp escaping her lips before the world went black around her.
‘Do you want me to avada her?’ Rabastan said, as he looked down at Addy in disgust.
‘No. Leave her. Her death will be slow and painful this way,’ her father said, rising from the floor with one last contemptuous look toward her while the material of her yellow dress was quickly turning dark and a pool of red formed beneath her.
Bellatrix cackled again.
‘I’ll leave the mark, shall I?’ Rodolphus said as they left the house.
‘May as well.’
‘Longbottom, we’ve had a dark mark spotted, let’s go,’ Moody barked.
‘Do we know who’s there?’ Frank asked as he followed Moody down the hall.
‘Not till we get there,’ Moody muttered distractedly as he looked to the address on the parchment while they ascended the stairs. ‘The house doesn’t belong to anyone.’
‘Where is it we’re going?’
‘Just outside Banchory.’
Frank nodded and grabbed Moody’s arm as they left the house; Moody disapparated with a soft crack, apparating into a large field just outside a small house illuminated in a soft green glow, a large skull and snake floating in the sky above it. Frank lit his wand as he followed Moody into the dark house; they didn’t have to go far before they saw the lone figure that was left in the middle of the wooden floor.
‘Bloody hell,’ Moody muttered when his wand light fell across the figure and it glistened as it caught the light.
‘Addy?’ Frank croaked, moving toward her quickly.
‘You know this girl?’
‘She was on my quidditch team,’ Frank muttered as he leaned close, putting a hand to her neck.
‘There was a Nott in Gryffindor?’
Frank nodded absently. ‘She’s got a pulse. And she’s still breathing. Just barely,’ he said as he conjured a stretcher and lifted her onto it with his wand. ‘Think she can handle disapparating?’ he said as she groaned weakly.
‘We don’t really have another option,’ Moody said gruffly.
Frank responded by disapparating with a loud crack, Moody following quickly, and they reappeared suddenly in the waiting room to St Mungo’s.
‘Merlin’s beard!’ the receptionist exclaimed with a start. ‘What do we have here?’
‘Death Eater attack,’ Moody grumbled.
The receptionist’s eyes went wide, and she sent a summons as she scurried around the desk. ‘Bring her forward, bring her forward,’ she said breathily as two healers burst through a set of doors to the right. ‘She was attacked by Death Eaters,’ she told the healers, who immediately began feeling Addy’s neck and shining a light in her eyes.
‘What’s her name?’ one healer asked.
‘Adhara Nott,’ said Moody.
‘She goes by Addy,’ Frank added.
‘Addy? Addy dear, can you hear me?’ the healer asked while shaking her, then rubbing a fist into her chest.
‘She doesn’t have a pulse,’ the second healer stated.
‘What? But she did. She just did, before we apparated,’ Frank supplied rapidly.
‘We need to get her hooked up,’ the first healer said, pushing the stretcher through the doors and out of sight.
‘Wait here,’ the second healer stated, holding up his hands to stop Frank before he turned and followed the other healer through the doors.
‘Bloody fuck,’ Frank muttered, running a hand through his hair agitatedly. ‘I should tell Ally we found her. She’s really close with Addy. She’s like a sister to her…’
Moody shook his head. ‘Dumbledore sent the word out. I need to tell him we’ve found her. He’ll let Alice know.’
As Moody stalked off Frank nodded absent mindedly and sat in a vacant chair, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open slightly. He’d just finished training and never seen that much blood before, let alone from someone he’d known and liked quite well.
Moody flooed directly into Dumbledore’s office looking grim, though he usually looked grim, and Dumbledore looked up from where he was sat at his desk, as did most of the other occupants of the office, while Sirius jumped to his feet.
‘Did you find Dara? Is she ok?’
Moody narrowed his eyes at Sirius before he looked to Dumbledore. ‘A word, Albus?’ he said, as he walked around the desk. Dumbledore stood and the two talked behind the desk in low voices; Professor Dumbledore nodded occasionally, and his brow knit together in a grave expression.
‘Well,’ Dumbledore said, as he cleared his throat and turned to face the other occupants of the room while Moody went back to the fireplace to floo back to St Mungo’s. ‘It seems there was dark mark placed over an abandoned house outside Banchory. They did find Miss Nott there.’
Sirius paled and sat back in his chair.
‘Is she… I mean. The dark mark… that usually means…’ Lily stuttered.
Dumbledore sat again and leaned back in the chair, steepling his fingers in front of his face. ‘She was taken to St Mungo’s in critical condition.’
‘What does that mean?’ Marlene asked loudly.
‘She’s alive though?’ James said.
Dumbledore looked at them over his half-moon spectacles. ‘Moody tells me they had just gotten her to St Mungo’s when he flooed here. It is my understanding that she underwent some torture and had lost quite a bit of blood by the time they had arrived. I do not know anymore of her condition at this time.’
‘Can I go see her?’ Sirius asked.
Dumbledore seemed to be considering his words carefully. ‘You may go to St Mungo’s. I’m not sure how soon, or even if, they will let you see her.’
‘So… you’re saying she might not make it.’ Mary said quietly.
‘I’m going then. I need to be there when she wakes up,’ Sirius said, heading towards the fireplace, looking determined. ‘Take my trunk home, would you Prongs?’
‘Sure thing, Padfoot,’ James said quietly.
As Sirius left via floo network, those that remained in the headmaster’s office shared looks of apprehension.
‘He doesn’t get it, does he?’ Mary stated.
‘He’s optimistic,’ James defended.
‘He’s in denial,’ Marlene countered.
Remus shook his head. ‘He’s hopeful. He refuses to give up.’
Sirius was doing everything he could not to lose his marbles, but honestly, he was going spare. He needed to know what was going on with Dara. He needed answers.
‘Frank,’ he said, finding the young Auror in a seat in the waiting room, staring down at the floor. He started and looked up quickly, and his expression did nothing to ease Sirius’s worries.
‘Sirius,’ Frank nodded curtly.
‘Have you heard anything?’
‘Not since they took her back there…’ he eyed Sirius warily.
‘Was it… Dumbledore said she was tortured?’ Sirius said in a quiet, pained voice as he sat next to Frank.
Frank nodded absentmindedly. ‘I’ve never seen so much blood in my life…’ he muttered, almost as if to himself. ‘Her arm had been cut up and she had a knife in her stomach. She… she’d lost her pulse with the apparition. We didn’t see any other option… it’d already been too long,’ he said, looking up at Sirius then, his voice sounding almost pleading.
‘I thought Moody was coming back here?’
‘He came back to let me know he’d informed Dumbledore. He had to go back to headquarters though…’
Frank didn’t reply. He just looked back down at his hands that were clasped tightly in his lap.
Sirius swallowed thickly and looked towards the doors leading to the emergency ward, silently willing someone to come out then and tell them she’d pulled through. Come on Dara…
But the doors didn’t open. Instead, roughly twenty minutes later, they were looking up at the sound of frantic footsteps and heavy breathing coming toward them from the floo network. ‘Have you heard anything?’ Alice asked in a choked voice.
Frank shook his head. ‘Not since they took her back,’ he gestured vaguely toward the set of doors to their right.
‘Sodding hell,’ Alice muttered as she sat next to Frank, rubbing a hand over her face tiredly. ‘How did she get taken from Hogwarts?’
‘We’d just made it into Hogsmeade,’ Sirius said quietly, turning back to the doors.
When the doors did open, some two hours later, a healer came out to address a witch with big, slightly singed, hair, and an anxious face. She nodded solemnly as he talked, then followed him back behind the doors. And the waiting continued.
After another couple of hours, Frank went home at Alice’s promise to update him when they received word. Yet another few hours later, Alice had just nodded off in her chair when another healer came through the doors, looking around the waiting room. When his gaze settled on the two of them, Sirius nudged Alice awake as the healer walked toward him.
‘You’re here for Miss Nott?’
Sirius sat up straight while Alice nodded rapidly. ‘Yes. How is Dara?’
‘Are you family?’
‘We’re as good as,’ said Alice.
‘It’s her family that put her in here,’ Sirius said tersely.
The healer nodded slowly, looking between them. ‘I’m Healer Roberts. I was part of the team that worked on Miss Nott. The knife that was used was cursed, and by the time we got to her, she had lost a great deal of blood, and the curse had spread through much of her system. We were finally able to stop the bleeding and contain the curse. She’s still in critical condition, though we’ve managed to stabilize her.’
‘So, is she going to be ok?’ Alice said.
‘We won’t know that for sure until she wakes up.’
‘When do you expect that will be?’ said Sirius.
The Healer Roberts looked between the two again, considering his words carefully. ‘Miss Nott isn’t out of the woods yet. Honestly, we’re not sure that she will wake up.’
Alice’s face fell, and she looked down, blinking rapidly.
Sirius swallowed thickly. ‘Can I see her?’
Healer Roberts frowned. ‘Just briefly. She needs her rest. Five minutes.’ Sirius nodded and stood quickly, while Alice looked up at them.
‘I’ll just go and inform Albus and then I’ll go home and let Frank know. I’ll come back to check on her in the morning. You’ll let the others know?’ Sirius nodded back at her before following Healer Roberts through the double doors. They walked down a long corridor and turned right, continuing down a second corridor, before they passed through another set of doors into a small ward where only one bed was occupied.
‘What’s that glow around her?’ Sirius asked as they reached the bed.
‘It’s a spell to regulate her breathing. She also has potions going to further rid her system of the curse, as well as replenish her blood.’
Sirius nodded. ‘And… is she likely to recover? I mean…’
Healer Roberts frowned thoughtfully. ‘Honestly, that’s not the type of thing I can answer for certain. It’s anyone’s guess really. I never would have thought she would make it this far, but here we are. She seems to be a fighter.’
Sirius nodded again. ‘Definitely. She’s always been strong willed,’ he said quietly.
Healer Roberts nodded. ‘Well, I’ll give you a few minutes alone.’
As the healer left, Sirius took a seat next to Addy’s bed, looking at her worriedly, and taking her hand, noticing the blood-stained bandage around her forearm. She looked so small and pale. ‘I felt like I was just getting you back. And it wasn’t even you yet, not really. Not the real you. You’ve got to make it, so you can… you can be the real you again. Merlin… I never even got a chance to tell you how I… how much I fancy you…’ he said in a whisper as he reached up to brush the hair from her face. He noticed with a pang that she hadn’t reacted to his touch at all. ‘Come on Dara, you’ve got to pull through this. Pull through for me. Please…’ he sat there quietly for the rest of the time, which seemed like no time at all, just watching her chest rise and fall slowly, and taking small comfort in the warmth of her hand. When Healer Roberts returned, Sirius reluctantly stood and left the ward, heading toward the floo network. ‘Can I visit her tomorrow?’
The healer nodded slowly. ‘Yes, but the same rules apply. Five minutes at a time.’
‘You’ll contact me if anything changes?’
‘Er… alright. Where can you be reached?’
‘Alright,’ Healer Roberts nodded again. ‘We’ll let you know.’
A/N: This is probably going to be it for me on here. I'm feeling awfully crunched for time with the site ending, and I really don't feel like the story is turning out how I want, but I will be revising and continuing on FF.net under the same penname and story title if anyone out there is actually interested.
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