Summary: Harry, Ron and Hermione are missing. Ginny is in a coma. Which odd folk will be charged with finding them, and just what does the Wizarding Mafia have to do with it?

Ratings: M (for safety reasons)

Timeline: Post Goblet of Fire, pre Order of the Phoenix, though keeping in mind the various character and spell introductions of the final books.

Prologue

Harry Potter felt beside him for his dropped wand. Instead, all he felt was the dampened grass. Confused, he expanded his search; it couldn't have fallen far. After a few seconds of fruitless hunting, he realised that the substance that swathed the grass was blood – his blood. A long tear in his robes revealed an ugly gash, the result of Sectumsempra, or something just as scarring.

'Harry! Harry!' Ron's voice sounded oddly resonant in Harry's ears, as though they were imprisoned in the deepest of dungeons.

'I'm- I can-' Harry stopped attempting to talk, and concentrated his efforts on finding his misplaced wand. Then, he could at least have a method of defence, even if he couldn't heal himself. There, the wand had disguised itself against the trunk of an apple tree, almost invisible in the low moonlight.

'Protego!' he yelled, almost on instinct alone. A stunner bounced off the temporary shield. Stunner – that was good. It meant their attackers were trying to incapacitate or capture, as opposed to kill. Of course, they could always kill after stunning though.

'Where's Hermione?' yelled Harry.

'Back that way. She got hit.' Ron dived behind the apple tree, an Impendiment Jinx narrowly missing him. He landed rather haphazardly, dirt streaking his face and hair. 'Ginny too,' he added.

'They're not...They didn't..?' Harry was in too much pain to finish the sentence – he suspected that the gash was not the worst of his injuries.

'Just unconscious, I think. I dunno, I didn't see any green flashes.' He stuck his head out from behind the tree, and ducked back in again. 'Thought someone would have come by now. We're not that far from the house, they must've seen something.' Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny had been partaking in a friendly game of Quidditch when they had been attacked without notice. When Hermione cast the first counter-spell, Harry could have sworn she was almost grateful of the momentary distraction from the sport. Now, though, things were getting desperate. Not even looking as to where he was pointing his wand, Harry shot out a Disarmer. He hit someone, and with great force, because there was a short yell, and the sound of something heavy slamming against a tree trunk.

'Come out now Potter, we're not all so easily dispatched with simple spells. Our orders are not to kill, so I suggest you come out now before I'm forced to forget these orders.' The voice was unfamiliar, as was the momentary glimpse of face Harry caught as he took a quick look out.

'Still five or six of them,' he muttered to Ron. 'I don't think I can hold out much longer.'

'Me neither,' Ron gritted, though it clearly upset him to admit so.

'All or nothing?' suggested Harry.

'I'm with you 'til the end, mate.'

Filled with adrenaline, the two charged from behind the tree, simultaneously shouting 'Stupefy!' Outnumbered and pre-empted, they both fell to the ground in a flash of bright red light. The battle had lasted all of two minutes.