Playing With Fire

Chapter 14

Disclaimer: I do not own the world of Harry Potter but Tilly Riddle and all other characters unrecognizable are mine so back off!

"Miss Riddle."

Tilly turned, trying not to show how startled she was to find Mad-Eye Moody standing behind her. Strangely enough, the squat man seemed to tower over her, making her feel incredibly apprehensive. She took a slight step back. "Yes, can I help you?"

She really didn't have time for this. In ten minutes, the Third and Final task would be starting and she really needed to be there with Ludo. He was probably looking for her right now. The man had looked so strained these last couple days; not that it wasn't his fault. Tilly had told Ludo many times that gambling would get him in trouble.

Moody's magical eye rolled backwards in his head, causing Tilly to look around and realize that she was quite alone with the strange man. "I really ought to be going," she said, taking another step back.

A mad grin slowly spread across the old man's face, scary and demented. Tilly was so shocked by its sudden appearance that she didn't even notice him pull out his wand. "Stupefy."

The spell came so quickly that Tilly didn't have time to move or defend herself. The spell hit her chest, sending her flying back, landing in an unconscious heap of robes and darkness.

Charlie looked down from his spot in the stands as the champions approached Ludo, the crowd cheering their support. Someone was missing though.

"Where's Tilly?" he asked his family who stopped cheering for Harry for a second to look around.

"Maybe she's running last minute errands for that boss of hers," Percy said with a hint of disgust. "I hear he's quite disorganized."

"I'm sure she'll turn up soon, love," his mother said, patting his knee.

But soon, Ludo announced the beginning of the Task and the Champions were running in to face whatever dangerous awaited and Tilly was still no where in sight.

Charlie started to get a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Tilly awoke dazed, the affects of being brought about from a Stunning Spell. Her vision was blurred and her head felt sluggish as she tried to figure out just where she was. She tried to move but found that her hands and ankles were bound. By her feet there was a strip of paper, words scrawled but slightly legible.

Get Riddle.

She looked up, blinking at the bright light above her. "Help!"

"No one can hear us down here." Tilly turned, startled by the presence of none other than Mad-Eye Moody beside her, his magical eye gone along with his peg leg. Clumps of his hair was missing making him look incredibly ill.

Tilly looked up again to the light where another Mad-Eye Moody stared down at her, this crazed grin on his face, a look that suggested danger. "Polyjuice Potion."

"He said you would be a smart girl," the imposter murmured. "He is going to be so very pleased with you . . . with me."

With that he closed the lid, plunging Tilly and Moody into darkness again. Moody shifted and Tilly felt him fumbling to remove her bounds. "Where are we?" she asked, tears burning at the back of her throat.

"In my trunk," he muttered, leaning away from her to cough into his arm. "We're still in the castle but I'm not sure how much longer."

"Who was that man? How long have you been down here?"

"Longer than I know and that was none other than Bartimus Crouch Jr."

Tilly sat in shock for a moment, shaking her head. "But he – he was –"

"Dead? It looks like that was a lie don't it? Little bugger snuck up on me from behind and stuffed me in my own trunk. He has some wack job plan for bringing You-Know-Who back from the grave, something involving Potter."

"What does he want from me?"

"That I don't know."

Her feet and arms now free they sat in silence, Tilly trying to think and draw everything together. Mad-Eye Moody was really Barty Crouch Jr. who must have done something to his poor father, she thought and now he was planning on doing something to Harry and, obviously, to her. Her wand was clearly still outside of the trunk and they were locked in. Someone was bound to know that she was missing by now, right?

Right.

Charlie would notice.

But the hours seemed to be moving by, slowly. Tilly felt as if she were becoming short of breath. She didn't know much longer she could hold herself together in front of Moody who had been in here way longer than a few hours. She was starting to feel lightheaded and had the incredible feeling of dread that most would associate with right before death. . . .

She closed her eyes.

What did he want with her? Who was the 'he' he had been referring to? What was going to happen to her? Why hadn't anyone come and save her yet?

She could vaguely hear Moody breathing softly, deep in sleep, and the sound of voices above her head but she believed she had gone into shock.

There was a loud bang and, just before she lost consciousness, she dreamt Albus Dumbledore appeared above her.

"Tilly . . . Tilly, can you hear me? Tilly?"

"Professor Dumbledore . . . do you think he wanted to take her because – because she's. . . ."

"Yes, Miss Granger, I do believe so."

"Tilly?" Tilly curled her fingers around Charlie's, forcing her eyes open. Charlie smiled softly down at her, pressing the palm of her hand against his lips. "Bout time."

She blinked, her head and movements feeling sluggish as she turned her head, taking in her environment. Molly Weasley stood in between her bed and the one which Harry Potter slept, probably having alternated back in forth between caring for them. Hermione, Ron, and Bill Weasley were there too and, of course, Madam Pomfrey . . . and a dog?

Tilly looked back to Charlie and he seemed to understand that she wanted to sit up so he helped her, propping up her pillows. "What happened?" she asked Professor Dumbledore, her voice hoarse.

For the first time in all the years she had known him, Dumbledore looked unsure. "It would seem that Barty Crouch Jr. thought to kidnap you."

"But why?" The room was silent as Tilly looked around, every eye except Charlie's downcast away from her as if someone had just shared some big secret. "What is going on?"

The door to the Hospital wing flung open, revealing a very frazzled Marguerite Baudelaire. Her cloak and wild hair billowing behind her, she rushed over and flung her arms around Tilly, all the while murmuring in French and smoothing back Tilly's own hair. Tilly's mind was so foggy though that she could barely translate it.

Finally, Marguerite let go, turning towards Dumbledore. "What happened? Your Patronus didn't give me any information."

"I'm afraid it isn't good, Marguerite. Not at all."

Marguerite ignored Tilly's insistence that she was fine, continuing on frantically. "What could possibly be so bad? Why is she here in the hospital wing?"

"Poppy was treating her for shock," Dumbledore explained. "Barty Crouch Jr. kidnapped her on orders of Voldemort."

The room seemed to go numb. Tilly's hand slipped out of Charlie's while Marguerite's knees seemed to go out and Molly, the closest to her, struggled to keep her up. Bill rushed over with a chair, helping the French woman to sit down. Her hands over her mouth and her eyes swimming with tears she whispered, "He's back?"

Dumbledore nodded.

Tilly looked between her grandmother and her former professor, shaking her head. "What does any of this have to do with me?"

No one spoke for a while. Dumbledore cleared his throat. "We could leave the room, Marguerite."

The older woman shook her head, her voice thick with tears. "They already know . . . don't you, Molly?"

Mrs. Weasley nodded her head sadly. "We found out two years ago, Margie. . . ."

"Found out what?" Tilly turned completely to her grandmother. "What are you not telling me?"

Marguerite nodded, placing her hands in her lap, twisting the fabric of her robes. "I was hoping I never had to tell you this. . . . When I transferred here my last year, I met your grandfather. I – I shouldn't have let you go on thinking he this . . . this perfect person because, in reality, he was everything but. Behind my back, behind everyone's backs he planned dangerous things, murderous things. He planned to rid the world of all Muggleborns and Muggles, anyone who was not a Pureblood."

Tilly could feel herself going numb. She shook her head. "No."

Her grandmother took a shuttering breath as if preparing herself to admit something. "Tom Marvolo Riddle is Lord Voldemort."

Marguerite took her granddaughter's hands in hers. "You have to understand why I didn't want to tell you, darling, especially when you were younger and your father had been. . . . I was only trying to protect you."

"Everyone knew?" Tilly whispered. This would explain a lot. Like why Harry had taken to watching her apprehensively . . . why, when she visited the Burrow before Ron's third year, he had blanched at the sight of her. . . . Why her grandfather had just gone missing.

Tilly looked around the room again. Mrs. Weasley, Hermione, Ron, and Bill refused to look at her, Dumbledore looked sad . . . but it was Charlie's horrified expression that rocked her entire world.

She slid her hands from her grandmother's and shakily got out of bed. Marguerite stood but Tilly held up a hand. Tears stung her eyes and she felt short of breath again but she managed to mutter, "You should have told me."

"Tilly," Charlie called across the hush room but Tilly kept walking, out the hospital doors, through the castle, and out the front gate where she could finally, albeit shakily, Apparate.

She thanked Merlin that no one followed her.

A/N: I hope you guys liked this chapter! I'm sooo sorry it took me so long but I think I liked how this turned out! Thank you so much for reading! PLAYING WITH FIRE WEDNESDAY!

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