The soft crackling of flames could be heard in the silence. Shadows danced on the walls to a song only they could hear. A fat cat slept quietly, its paws flexing as it dreamed. Books littered the tables, their contents no doubt swirling around in some sleeping Gryffindors mind.
Ron's angry voice cut through the silence like a knife into butter. "I don't think I can take it again." He paced back and forth in front of the hearth. The cats eyes opened at the loud noise before they fluttered shut.
"We went after them," Dean said. "We know they're stronger than us. It was reckless."
Ron spun around, his face red and contorted in fury. "Are you saying we should do nothing? After every thing those bloody junior Death Eaters have done."
Dean reeled back, as though he'd been slapped. "That's not what I said. I just think we should stop fighting like Gryffindors and-"
"And what?" Ron demanded. "Start fighting like those slimy snakes?"
"No, we need to fight smart like Ravenclaws," Dean said calmly, "sneakily like Slytherins, together like Hufflepuffs, and bravely like Gryffindors. We've all seen them duel, it's as if they've been training together all their lives. Which they probably have. They know how to work as a team, and play to their strengths. We attacked them without having a plan. We weren't thinking."
"Dean's right," Seamus interjected. "They fight better than any seventh year. If we ever want to beat them in a duel we need to practice. We can't get bested again. No one in Gryffindor is even talking to us because of it. We'll never make up all those points before the year is over."
"Maybe losing to them again was a good thing," Dean said. He continued when he saw Ron's face turn a brighter shade of red. "We haven't exactly been good students since we started here. If we put more focus into our studies, and learn extra spells. We'll have a chance. They deserve to get dropped down one hundred notches. We aren't arguing with you about that Ron. I know they're up to something. But we can't do anything about it as we are."
Ron stared at his two best friends. He knew they were right. He wasn't dumb, he just didn't care about school. All he had wanted to be for as long as he could remember was an auror. He wanted to catch bad guys and fight against those on the dark side. His brother Bill had told him years ago that in order to be an auror he needed good grades, but he didn't want to put in the work. He'd much rather play quidditch or wizards chess. But if studying meant he could send that bastard Riddle, and his band of future Death Eaters to the infirmary, and one day Azkaban, it would be worth it.
"I got a book of offensive spells for Christmas," Ron said. At the time he had hated the gift, but now it seemed it would come in handy.
"I got some from my mum," Seamus said. "I'll go get them."
Ron watched as Seamus ran up the stairs. An image of Harrison crumbling to the ground flashed in his mind and he couldn't stop the grin from forming on his face.
Nymphadora could barely keep her eyes open. Dry blood and tears clamped onto her eyelashes like a starfish to a rock. She sucked in a breath of air and almost puked at the stench. Urine, blood, and other things she didn't want to think of mixed in the air like Death's cologne. Her entire body felt as though she had been dropped from the highest tower thousands of times. She rubbed her arm where the words blood traitor were carved into her flesh. The cuts weren't deep, but due to the curse placed on the blade used, she knew they'd be there forever.
It had only been a week or two since she had been taken. She wasn't quite sure how long for certain. She hadn't left the dungeons, and there were no windows. She couldn't even use the guards movements as an estimation, sometimes a guard would be stationed outside her door for what seemed like a hour, sometimes ten. She was no fool, she knew it was meant to confuse her, to keep her from recognizing time.
Nymphadora flinched as she moved her legs. A sob escaped her throat, but no tears came out. Whether from dehydration, or the fact that she had cried enough since she had been taken for four lifetimes, but she couldn't cry anymore. No matter what was done to her, no tears fell down her cheeks.
Nymphadora tried to stay strong. She was an auror, she had been trained for every situation. She had been trained to say calm, and to not allow her captor to mess with her head. No matter what was done, said, or shown to her, she had to stay strong. But Nymphadora found it harder and harder to stay strong. She forced herself to think of her friends and family. She had people who cared whether she lived or died. She had a life, a good and happy life to get back to. But as she looked around the room, and at the awful words carved into her arms, she didn't know if she could ever be happy again.
The door opened and she jumped. She mentally told herself to be strong, but the little mental strength she had left crashed down as Rabastan walked into the room. He smirked in amusement, as if they shared a private joke. His dark eyes danced with horrible intent.
"Good morning," Rabastan purred. "Did you sleep well?"
Nymphadora covered her breasts and Rabastan laughed. The sound made bile rise in her throat.
"Why bother with that?" Rabastan asked. "It isn't as if I haven't seen it all before."
Rabstan's eyes drank in her body and she began to shake. Images of the previous night assaulted her mind. Rabastan on top of her panting, his hands pulling at her breasts, him shoving himself inside of her without a care to how much it hurt. She subconsciously raised her hand to her right cheek where he had slapped her as she screamed at him to stop.
"No!" Nymphadora yelled, shaking her head. She pushed herself against the wall as he walked towards her.
"Enough of that," Rabastan snapped. He stalked towards her like a lion to a gazelle. Nymphadora's breathing sped up, and beads of sweat formed on her forhead.
The door slammed open, smacking into the stone wall. Rabastan spun around, his hand reaching for his wand. Nymphadora never thought she'd feel relief to see her deranged aunt. Bellatrix stood in the doorway, a crazed smile danced on her lips.
"What is the meaning of this Bella?" Rabastan demanded.
"I come with news from our Lord," Bellatrix said. "There's been a change in plans in regards to your little play thing." She sneered at Nymphadora before looking back at Rabastan. "Clean her up, remove all of the dry blood and other unmentionables, but leave her without clothes. Escort her to the main chamber, the Dark Lord will instruct you from there."
Nymphadora froze. She had thought being forced to be alone with Rabastan was hell on earth. The thought of being taken to the Dark Lord was too awful to think of. She looked at Rabastan, he didn't look pleased, but he nodded his head stiffly.
Bellatrix turned towards Nymphadora and her eyes gleamed with hatred. "One last thing Rabastan, the Dark Lord said to have her down at noon." Her smile turned deadly. "It's only nine."
A low chuckle escaped Rabastan's throat, as Bellatrix spun on her heels and slammed the door closed. As Rabastan slowly turned and peered lasciviously at her, Nymphadora wished, not for the first time, that Bellatrix would've just killed her.
Molly Weasley looked out at her yard worriedly, as she sat on the front porch of the Burrow. Orange leaves littered the ground around tall oak trees. Overgrown grass hid broken pieces of brooms, and lost toys from gobstones and wizards chess. Garden gnomes scampered in the bushes, producing a quiet rustling sound.
Molly had spent the morning picking apples in the orchard, and now she was going to have a quick lunch before doing the chores. She knew she could've been done already, but with everything on her mind she was moving slow. Her daughter and twins were acting oddly, Percy, Bill, and Charlie had been more distant than usual, and Ron kept getting in trouble at school. To make matters worse, Nymphadora had been taken, and no one knew where she was. Molly had always adored the metamorphagous, and had cried herself to sleep almost every night since. She couldn't imagine what awful things were being done to her.
Molly raised a light green apple to her lips, the fruit scent filling her nose, when the Burrow's wards went off. Startled, she jumped up and grabbed her wand from the front pocket of her apron. Her eyes scanned the yard and she froze when her eyes landed on a crumpled form lying on the ground.
"Tonks!" Molly screamed, as she scrambled down the rickety wooden steps. "Oh Merlin, no!" She gasped in horror.
Nymphadora was lying naked on her side. Her body clean, but littered with what looked like hundreds of small cuts. The words blood traitor carved into her flesh, the skin around it red with infection. Bite marks littered her neck and breasts. Her eyes fluttered open and relief swarmed her eyes upon seeing Molly.
"Tell Dumbledore that-" Nympahora croaked.
"Don't talk sweetheart," Molly interrupted. Tears ran down her cheeks, and she tried to keep her voice steady. She quickly summoned a cloak and laid it over Nymphadora. With a flick of her wrist a small white dove appeared, another flick and the patronus and its message were gone.
Molly got on her knees and cradled Nymphadora's head in her lap. She could taste vomit, as the wounds Nymphadora sustained finally hit her. She had imagined torture, but to see those vile words carved into her flesh, and bites marks littering her body, Molly couldn't imagine the horrors she had suffered over the past two weeks. Molly stroked her hair as Nymphadora stared blankly up at the sky. Slowly, her eyes fluttered closed, and Molly could hear quiet breaths. She bit back a sob. No one deserved such a thing, especially not the amazing woman lying before her. Images of her brothers' dead bodies flashed before her eyes, and she pushed them away.
Two pops filled the air, and Molly looked up to see Dumbledore and Poppy Pomfrey, the Hogwarts nurse. Fury and concern radiated from the headmaster.
"Molly," Dumbledore said. "Poppy will need your floo to bring Nymphadora to Hogwarts."
Her voice shook as she replied, "Of course Albus."
It was heartbreaking to see such a strong woman lie stiffly, body tense even with muscle relaxation potions coursing through her veins, her eyes wide and alert, fear it their depths. They were hollow as well, dark and dead. Nymphadora's physical wounds were all healed, but Dumbledore knew the emotional ones would never go away. His never had.
"I don't want it," Nymphadora pushed Poppys hand away. A bottle of dreamless sleep glistened in her hand. "I want to go home." Her voice broke on the last word.
"My dear," Poppy began gently. "You need to rest for at least two weeks. Physically your scars are gone, with the exception of," her voice drew distant as her eyes flickered to the horrid words carved on Nymphadoras' arm. She cleared her throat. "You're lucky that the other spells they used on you weren't dark enough to leave scars."
Dumbledore knew her words were true. After examining Nymphadora, the only physical wounds she had were cuts, bite marks, and bruises. Nothing that had appeared to been caused by dark magic, her right arm the exception. She has internal injuries, Poppy attributed that to being beaten. It was odd. The injuries were unlike any usually found on victims of the Death Eaters. Most victims, the ones who weren't killed outright, became unrecognizable. Their bodies covered with scars from dark magic, their faces, what was left of them, bloody. And they never came out of the dungeons alive. Tom let Nymphadora go for a reason. Tom never acted without careful thought, every move he made was part of some larger machination.
'Voldemort says hello.' That was the first thing Nymphadora had told him after she had regained consciousness. Dumbledore could see the fear in her eyes as she said it, like she too knew something bigger was coming. Dumbledore had turned the words over in his mind again and again. Tom was going to strike. Dumbledore didn't know when or where, but he knew it would be soon.
"I want to go home," Nymphadora said again. No emotion coming through. "I want to go home."
Poppy looked worriedly at Dumbledore, pity shone in her eyes like a beacon.
"You shouldn't be alone at a time like this Nymphadora," Dumbledore said. "Especially not in these times. I can floo your mother, I know she'd be happy to have you." Nymphadora had been adamant that no one, not even her parents saw her until she was healed. Nymphadora didn't respond, her eyes glazing over as if in a dream. Dumbledore gently touched her arm.
"No!" Nymphadora screamed. Her eyes frantically going from left to right. She sat up and pushed herself towards the top of the bed.
"You're safe now," Dumbledore said gently. "No one here will hurt you."
Nymphadora looked at Dumbledore and she blinked rapidly. The fear in her eyes dimmed as realization hit her. Her countenance filled to one of misery.
"One night with my parents," Nymphadora said quietly. She grabbed her right arm and turned her head away, her shoulders slumped.
Dumbledores' heart squeezed with pain for her. Only evil could take such a spunky woman, and turn her into less than a shell of her former self. He looked at Poppy who pursed her lips but nodded.
Dumbledore looked at Nymphadora with gentle eyes, before making his way towards his office. He had much to do.
"Have you any news regarding the Tonks girl?" Tom asked.
"Yes, my Lord," Severus replied. "Dumbledore escorted her personally to her parents home two days ago, myself, along with the Order were informed today. She will be staying under their care throughout her recovery."
Severus spared Bellatrix a glance, a twisted smile played on her lips. She was no doubt thinking about who in the dungeons would feel her wrath next.
Severus knew Bellatrix had been furious that the Dark Lord let her neice go even though she knew his plan. She had wanted to kill the girl slowly, but the Dark Lord of course was more interested in breaking her slowly. 'Break her mind, and she will beg you for death.' Bellatrix calmed down after a promise that she could be the one to deliver the spell that killed young Nymphadora.
"Yes," Tom said. "Parents will do anything for their children." Tom looked at a photograph that sat on the corner of his desk. Severus knew it was of Harrison when he was a young boy. Tom tapped his long fingers against his desk. "On to other matters. Bellatrix, am I to assume everything is ready?"
"Yes," Bellatrix replied. Excitement shining in her eyes. "Everything is prepared, I gave the orders myself."
"Excellent," Tom murmured. "I must write to Harrison, he must be prepared."
"And the others?" Bellatrix inquired. Severus knew she was really asking about her children.
"Harrison will have orders on who to tell," Tom replied. "The less who know the better. I will not trust children with a secret such as this. My plan must go according to plan."
"Of course, my Lord," Bellatrix said quickly. For a fleeting moment Severus could've sworn he saw Bellatrix' eyes flash black. "I always did love Halloween."
"Have any of you noticed how odd Weasley and his minions have been acting lately?" Daphne asked.
"As opposed to how normal they usually act?" Draco drawled, not bothering to look up from his porridge.
"I'm serious," Daphne said. "I was talking to Anastasia earlier, and she said she saw them in the library. More than once, and they were reading."
Harrison looked up from the letter his father had sent him. He folded it and placed in his his pocket.
"That is odd," Harrison mused.
"I didn't think they even knew where it was," Draco added. "They're certainly stupid enough for me to believe they've never step foot in there."
"They haven't tried to antagonize us either," Blaise said.
"They're up to something," Daphne said. "They have to be."
Harrison would bet his trust vault that Daphne was right. It had been about two weeks since they received their punishment, and they'd been acting strangely almost that entire time. The three ignored them in class, even though it was obvious they wanted to say something. After all, Ronald was awful at hiding his emotions. A few days prior, Draco insulted Ron, and he moved like he was going to reach for his wand when Dean grabbed his arm. A look had passed between them, but Harrison hadn't given it much thought. He had just assumed Dean had wised up, and didn't want to lose anymore house points. Gryffindor house still hadn't forgiven them. But if they're up to something, he was going to find out.
"I'll have a little chat with the resident pranksters," Harrison said. "They'll figure it out."
"You don't want to do it yourself?" Blaise asked surprised.
"There must be something in the pumpkin juice, first the weasel, and now you," Leo said.
Harrison's hand settled on the letter in his pocket. "I have something more important to take care of." He had to stop himself from frowning as he looked at Blaise. What was his father up to?
***The darkness was broken up by flashes of light. Spells flew through the air like owls delivering the morning post. Screams of pain, so horrifying they made you want to claw your ears out echoed around the field. The scent of death hung in the air, and blood flowed like a river down a set of old rickety steps
A man, one who would've been handsome if not for the lines on his face and hollow eyes that jutted out, slashed his arm in a V shaped pattern. A sickly yellow spell flew through the air, and a woman, her face contorted in fury deflected it.
"I've waited twelve long years for this," the man yelled. Spell after spell flew from his wand, faster and more deadly than the ones before.
The woman sent spells just as fast, as her hair flew all around her like a halo.
"No!" A blood curling scream rang out and the man turned his head slightly to the side. The woman grinned and sent a curse of death his way. The man dodged just in time, the spell blasted a tree to bits. The man threw spells faster and faster, and finally he hit his mark. The woman stumbled back as a jet of purple crashed into her stomach.
The man smiled, as the woman grabbed her stomach with one hand and looked up in pure hatred and disbelief. The man's smile quickly vanished when spells came flying at him from two dierections.
Suddenly, the scene changed. It was the same place, but now no one was there. Silence echoed louder than any scream. A petite blonde girl walked slowly, her eyes scanning her surroundings. It was peaceful and quiet. Too quite. Suddenly the ground at her feet exploded, she tried to move, but her limbs wouldn't listen to her brain. A pale arm, covered in dried blood burst through the ground, and latched onto her arm. The girl hissed in pain. The smell of burnt flesh filled her nose and wisps of white smoke rose from her skin.***
Luna woke with a start. Sweat soaked her entire body, gluing her hair to her neck and face. She fumbled for her wand, and cast a ball of light. She looked down at her arm and froze. A giant handprint was burned into her flesh.
AN: I'm sure many of you won't like what happened to Tonks, I love her too, but I'm trying to make it realistic. Just because I like a character, or you do, doesn't mean she should remain unscarred.